In anticipation of explosive growth in New York's outer ring suburbs by the 1980's, the Tri-State Transportation Commission recommended the construction of new expressways to serve these areas. One such route was the Orange Expressway, which was described in the 1966 report, Transportation 1985: A Regional Plan, as follows:
This north-south route through Orange County will extend a New Jersey route into New York State. In addition to serving a large area now without expressway access, the Orange Expressway will provide an alternative to the New York State Thruway during peak periods. It will also provide access to future urban development and Stewart Airport.
Continuing the route of the (unbuilt) NJ 208 Freeway Extension from Passaic County, the Orange Expressway would have continued north through Greenwood Lake to Monroe, where it was to intersect with the Quickway (I-86 and NY 17). Paralleling the existing NY 208, the Orange Expressway was to extend north to the vicinity of Maybrook, where it was to terminate at I-84 near EXIT 5 (existing NY 208). The length of the expressway was cited as a "future needs" project for completion by 1985.
The Orange Expressway also was cited as a "future connection" in a 1970 location report for the proposed NJ 208 Freeway Extension developed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
In 1975, the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission (the successor to the Tri-State Transportation Commission) recommended further studies to improve access in the proposed NY 208-NJ 208 corridor. The proposal in the report Maintaining Mobility recommended construction of the freeway for completion by 2000. However, by the late 1970's, high construction costs and potential environmental damage deterred the NYSDOT and the NJDOT from pursuing the this project.