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This 2018 photo shows the westbound / northbound Heckscher State Parkway just north of  EXIT 46 (Timber Point Road) in Great River. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)


NYSDOT Reference Route:

8.2 miles (13.3 kilometers)
1929-1930 (original two-lane road to Heckscher State Park)
1959-1962 (controlled-access parkway)
NY 907M

Passenger cars only north (west) of EXIT 44 (NY 27 / Sunrise Highway).
Height restrictions apply.

AN EXTENSION OF THE SOUTHERN STATE PARKWAY: The Heckscher State Parkway is the eastern extension of the Southern State Parkway and continues its exit numbering scheme. It also carries signs for the Southern State Parkway along its entire length, except along the far southeastern end of the parkway where signs for the Heckscher State Parkway are posted.

In 1930, a two-lane road called the Heckscher Spur ran from NY 27A (Montauk Highway) in East Islip to the newly opened Heckscher State Park on Great South Bay. The access road had at-grade intersections at Montauk Highway (current EXIT 45) and Timber Point Road (current EXIT 46). Soon after Heckscher State Park opened, Robert Moses proposed an extension of the Southern State Parkway that was to connect to the park. Though the proposal remained on the books for more than a quarter century, ground had yet to be broken for the link between the Southern State Parkway and Heckscher State Park.

Construction of the Heckscher State Parkway began in 1959. According to maps posted on, there was to have been a trumpet interchange at the intersection of the Southern State Parkway and Sagtikos State Parkway, with the Heckscher "Spur" terminating at the interchange. A stone-arch interchange was built in 1952 to carry the Heckscher Spur over the Southern State-Sagtikos main roadway, and land was cleared for ramps leading to and from the Heckscher Spur. As part of the project, the original stone-arch overpass was demolished, additional land was cleared, and a new high-volume "Y"-interchange was constructed at the intersection of the Southern State Parkway and the Sagtikos State Parkway.

The section between Sunrise Highway and Heckscher State Park was opened in 1961, replacing the original two-lane access road into the park. The segment between the Sagtikos State Parkway and Sunrise Highway was completed in 1962. Over three years, the Heckscher State Parkway cost $16 million to construct.

Among the newest of the Long Island parkways, the Heckscher State Parkway incorporated the latest developments in highway design. Between EXIT 41A (Sagtikos State Parkway) and EXIT 45 (NY 27A / Montauk Highway), the six-lane parkway has two 36-foot-wide roadways, carrying three lanes in each direction. From EXIT 45 south to Heckscher State Park, the four-lane parkway has two 24-foot-wide roadways, carrying two lanes in each direction. Throughout its entire length, the opposing roadways are separated by a variable median measuring as wide as 40 feet.

The Heckscher State Parkway is the only parkway to have flanking service roads - Spur Drive North and Spur Drive South - for mixed traffic to provide access to adjacent properties. The service roads along both the north and south sides of the parkway begin about one-half mile east of the Sagtikos State Parkway interchange, and end just north of the Sunrise Highway interchange.

DESIGN CHANGES: In 1969, a pedestrian bridge was constructed about one-quarter mile north of EXIT 44 in Islip Terrace. The overpass, which connects a residential area to the east with several nearby schools to the west, was constructed in response to a safety problem created when young pedestrians created an unauthorized east-west path crossing the parkway. The hazard was both to the pedestrians awaiting gaps in the traffic stream to run across the pavement, and to the motorists confronted by unexpected pedestrians darting suddenly across the parkway.
accommodate the increase in traffic volume and speed, and to address the accident history, the NYSDOT began to modify the parkway in accordance with federal and state traffic safety guidelines.

More from Jim Wade, Long Island contributor to

The Heckscher Parkway pedestrian bridge in Islip Terrace serves the schools in the area. Its exact location connects the intersections of Farmingdale Street to Redman Street (location of schools). The original high school in the area was built in 1960 and is currently used as the Islip Terrace Junior High School. Across the street, in 1969 (the same year as the pedestrian bridge), a new high school opened to serve the growing population. The RCK Elementary School is located a little further north in the same area.

The pedestrian bridge helps students in crossing the parkway, but some still like to cross the hard way. Recently, new six-foot-high chain link fences were installed from the intersection of Spur Drive South and Manhattan Boulevard to Sunrise Highway to make it harder to cross the parkway without using the bridge. Other new fences in the area are only four feet high.

In 1977, maintenance of the Heckscher State Parkway was transferred from the Long Island State Park Commission (LISPC) to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), although ownership remained under the jurisdiction of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP). To accommodate the increase in traffic volume and speed, and to address the accident history, the NYSDOT began to modify the parkway in accordance with federal and state traffic safety guidelines.

New signs and high-intensity lighting were installed in the late 1980's and early 1990's. In addition, new steel guardrails and sand-filled impact attenuators were installed.

In 1995, a new interchange, EXIT 43A (Suffolk CR 17 / Carleton Avenue) in Islip Terrace, opened to serve the nearby New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) campus and the new Cohalan Court Complex. Four years later, an additional $1 million worth of improvements were made at this interchange to better accommodate traffic flows from NYIT, the court complex, and a new minor league baseball stadium.

UPCOMING IMPROVEMENTS: According to the NYSDOT, the Heckscher State Parkway handles approximately 60,000 vehicles per day (AADT) between the Sagtikos State Parkway and Sunrise Highway, dropping sharply to 10,000 vehicles per day near its eastern (southern) terminus.

Long-range plans call for the construction of an additional travel lane in each direction along the Southern State and Heckscher State parkways east to EXIT 44 (NY 27 / Sunrise Highway). The two new lanes, which would be set aside for HOV use during rush-hour periods, are expected to handle the new "Long Island Rapid Commute" (LIRC) vehicles envisioned by the "LITP 2000" plan. The LIRC articulated vehicles would travel on dedicated new and existing HOV lanes on controlled-access highways, as well as on existing arterial roads. According to Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consulting engineers for the plan, approximately 50 parkway overpasses would have to be reconstructed to accommodate the LIRC vehicles.

These 2004 photos show a variety of overpass designs on the Heckscher State Parkway. The left photo shows a steel girder-and stone parapet bridge taking Commack Road over the parkway. The right photo shows a more traditional stone-arch bridge taking NY 111 (Islip Avenue) over the parkway. (Photos by Steve Anderson.)

SOURCES: Arterial Progress 1959-1965, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (1965); The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro, Vintage Books-Random House (1974); History of the Long Island State Parkway System, New York State Department of Transportation (1985); Robert Moses: Single-Minded Genius by Joann P. Krieg, Heart of the Lakes Publishing (1989);; New York Metropolitan Transportation Council; Daniel T. Dey; Ralph Herman; Nathan W. Perry; Jim Wade.

  • Heckscher State Parkway and Southern State Parkway shields by Ralph Herman.
  • Lightpost by Jeff Saltzman.
  • HOV sign by C.C. Slater.





  • Heckscher State Parkway exit list by Steve Anderson.

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