This 1999 photo shows the southbound JFK Expressway through Kennedy Airport. Originally planned in the 1960's as an extension of the Clearview Expressway, the JFK Expressway is maintained by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)

IMPROVING ACCESS TO JFK AIRPORT FROM THE EAST: The JFK Expressway provides a second limited-access link within the confines of John F. Kennedy International Airport, replacing the 150th Street, at-grade road link. It allows for more convenient access to the airport for Long Island users via the westbound Belt Parkway. The JFK Expressway, which marks the terminus of the westbound Nassau Expressway (NY 878), was part of a joint effort between the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to improve access to the airport.

The four-lane expressway "stub" was originally planned in the late 1950's as a part of a southern extension of the Clearview Expressway. From the time that JFK (then Idlewild) Airport opened in 1948, traffic was backed up for miles on the Van Wyck Expressway, whose opening coincided with the airport. Robert Moses, who built JFK Airport in addition to the arterial routes, saw the southern extension of the Clearview Expressway as a way to alleviate congestion on the Van Wyck Expressway. After years of community opposition in southeast Queens, Governor Rockefeller dropped the Clearview extension (along with the rest of the "I-78 through NYC" proposals) in March 1971.

The JFK Expressway was built as part of an ongoing, multi-billion overhaul of Kennedy Airport that began in the late 1980's. It was designed to relieve up to 30 percent of the traffic volume from the Van Wyck Expressway. Related projects include the construction of new terminals, reconstruction of access roads within the airport, and development of the new "Airtrain" system along the Van Wyck Expressway median.

Because it lies almost entirely within Kennedy Airport, the JFK Expressway was constructed, and is maintained by the Port Authority. The short expressway is not found in the NYSDOT route log, and therefore does not have a numerical designation.

Along the southbound lanes of the JFK Expressway just south of South Conduit Avenue (NY 27), there is an incomplete "stub" ramp that was to lead to the westbound lanes of the Nassau Expressway (NY 878). An $80 million extension of the westbound lanes of the Nassau Expressway west of the JFK Expressway, which was to provide improved access to Aqueduct Racetrack and Cross Bay Boulevard, was canceled in 1995.

SOURCES: "Kennedy Gridlock: Problems Seen in Costly Solution" by Kirk Johnson, The New York Times (7/08/1988); "First JFK Changes OK'd By Agency" by Katherine Foran, Newsday (11/17/1988); "Queens Neighborhoods" by Patricia Hurtado, Newsday (1/07/1992); "Road to Nowhere: Still No Return" by David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times (9/03/1995); Daniel T. Dey; Ralph Herman; Nathan W. Perry; Jeff Saltzman.




  • JFK Expressway exit list by Steve Anderson.


  • JFK Expressway

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