Interchange of the Week
Monday, 4 December 2000
Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges, New York City
Brooklyn Detail
(Return to overview)

Brooklyn Bridge: Entering Brooklyn from Manhattan, the bridge passes over several local streets and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278). A loop ramp connects to Cadman Plaza West, serving downtown Brooklyn. From this point, a left turn leads to the Civic Center and Borough Hall, while a right turn leads to the waterfront and Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. Also to the right, access is available from Cadman Plaza West to I-278 westbound.

Curving almost due south, the bridge approach becomes the center of Adams Street, separated from the service street on either side. One block to the south of this photo is the intersection with Tillary Street, which provides an indirect connection to I-278 eastbound. The bridge approach/service street configuration continues south to Fulton Street in the heart of downtown Brooklyn.

Entrances to the bridge are available from I-278 eastbound (westbound uses Tillary Street), and from Jay Street (one block east of Adams Street) by way of Sands Street.

Manhattan Bridge: The double-decked Manhattan Bridge is a direct extension of Flatbush Avenue, with the outer lanes forming the upper level and the inner lanes making a more express approach to the lower level. Flanking the lower roadway are the tracks of the Q and W subway lines (not visible). Coming from Manhattan, a ramp from the upper deck curves around to meet Jay Street, whence a right turn to Sands Street provides eventual access to I-278 in either direction. Just past the south edge of this photo, the inner and outer roadways converge at Nassau Street, followed by the intersection with Tillary Street (for the lower deck, this provides access to I-278 eastbound).

Entrances to the upper level are from I-278 eastbound and Nassau Street. Notice that these two ramps converge before merging into the bridge approach, and notice also the square intersection between Nassau Street and Flatbush Avenue. An older ramp from I-278 can been be clearly seen meeting this point. Lower level access is either direct from Flatbush Avenue, or from I-278 in either direction via Tillary Street.

Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: The connections to and from this freeway, which is also Interstate 278, are as follows. Eastbound (from left to right in the photo), Exit 28A is the ramp to Cadman Plaza West and Exit 28B is for the Brooklyn Bridge. The latter ramp represents the only direct connection between I-278 and the Brooklyn Bridge. Continuing, Exit 29A is the ramp to the Manhattan Bridge (upper level), which crosses over the entrance ramp from Sands Street. Again, Exit 29A is the only direct connection between the Expressway and the bridge. Finally, off the bottom right corner is Exit 29B to Tillary Street and its corresponding entrance ramp.

Westbound (right to left) is Exit 29 to Tillary Street and the Manhattan Bridge (off the bottom right corner), followed by an entrance from Sands Street. Crossing under the Manhattan Bridge, the westbound roadway begins its descent into the cantilevered section that follows the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade. Exit 28, here partially obscured by the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, leads right to Front Street, or left, curving under the bridge, to Cadman Plaza West. An entrance from Cadman Plaza West merges with I-278 at extreme left.

Feedback: This area has been discussed in a thread in the misc.transport.road newsgroup concerning poorly-designed interchanges.
"BrianB4837" wrote:
"Someone brought up the Brooklyn Bridge at I-278. Having one lane from the BQE northbound (eastbound), to the Bridge toward Manhattan is very bad. Backups result all the time, and they always have traffic cops there to ticket line cutters. Also, that is the only DIRECT connection that the bridge has to I-278; everything else is via local streets."

David J. Greenberger replied:
"There is a striped-solid lane marking between the right lane and the center lane, so changing lanes from center to right at the last minute is, indeed, illegal, not just rude. More traffic than one might imagine exits to the Brooklyn Bridge--I once sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Atlantic Avenue on the BQE all the way to the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge, where two of three lanes were closed for construction. Delays exiting to the Manhattan Bridge aren't as bad, but the MB dumps traffic on Chinatown streets with no direct access (and poor indirect access) to highways. (Chinatown streets are notoriously slow, more so than streets elsewhere in Manhattan.)"

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