Long Island is infamously inundated with traffic. Being the long and skinny island it is and just outside of the major metro New York City area, there are numerous reasons that the traffic can be backed up for hours on end. Some of the worst times for traffic on Long Island are during rush hours, heading west for the morning commute between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and heading east between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. If construction is being completed in Brooklyn, Queens or the areas leading up to the bridges which provide access to the island, this can also greatly affect traffic. Click here
for expected roadwork, construction delays and road closures from the New York City Department of Transportation.
There are a few major highways/roadways that span most of Long Island from East to West… the Long Island Expressway is the largest highway (known locally as the L.I.E. or the 495) and runs along at roughly the center of the island from Exit 72 in Riverhead all the way west to the highway’s terminus at the Midtown Tunnel (also known as the Queens Midtown tunnel) which enters Manhattan’s East side between East 34th street and East 42nd street. The Northern State Parkway transitions from the Grand Central Parkway in the Lake Success area and continues eastward to Hauppauge where it runs into Route 347. The Southern State Parkway spans a portion of Long Island’s southernmost shore from Hecksher State Parkway in East Islip to the western junction of the Belt Parkway and Cross Island Parkway which zigzags over the border between Queens County and Nassau County.
Sunrise Highway spans from the border of Nassau county and Queens county and runs all the way through to Montauk Point at the south-easternmost tip of Long Island. Almost every major highway on Long Island has a local roadway running parallel to it. Jericho Turnpike (Route 25) is a local road that runs parallel to the 495 and also spans the island from the western Nassau County border all the way to the north fork terminating at the north-easternmost town Orient Point. Long Island’s north and south forks do not have a continuous roadway connecting them. Route 114 spans from East Hampton, through Sag Harbor and does continue on to Shelter Island
, but to continue to through to Shelter Island or the north fork
you must utilize the local ferries to and from Shelter Island. Ocean Parkway begins at the Robert Moses Causeway and runs the length of the barrier island on Long Island’s south shore passing by Jones Beach State Park and runs west to the Meadowbrook Parkway in Merrick. Click here for a map of Long Island
which has been recently updated by the NYMTC.
There are only a few highways and main roadways that run north and south on Long Island and those can be treacherous and have major traffic backups at any point in the day. Those are the Cross Island Parkway, Wantagh Parkway, Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway (Route 135), Bethpage State Parkway, Meadowbrook Parkway, Sunken Meadow Parkway (AKA Sagtikos Parkway) and William Floyd Parkway.
Some alternate roadways
for north and south travel are Route 106/107, Route 110 (Broadhollow Road), Deer Park Avenue (Route 231), Wellwood Avenue (Pinelawn Road), Commack Road (County Road 4), Nichols Road (Route 97), North Ocean Avenue (Route 83), Route 112, Sills Road (County Road 21), Wading River Manor Road, County Road 104 and County Road 105. There are other roads that span diagonally such as Veterans Memorial Highway (Route 454) from the Oakdale/Bluepoint area to the Commack/Smithtown area which are known as main veins in commercial travel, since commercial vehicles are prohibited on all state parkways.
So the real question is…. where is the traffic on Long Island? How can I know before I hit the road where the traffic is and what roadways are clear? Thanks to the internet you can now access live cameras
placed at main intersections and roadways throughout Long Island. By using these resources you can review the conditions of intersections such as the LIE at Deer Park Avenue, Grand Central and the Cross Island, Exit 52 at Commack Road on the LIE and many, many other major intersections and roadways throughout Long Island. This can help you plan the best route, make use of alternate roadways and factor driving times.
Photo credit: Robert Jack Will
Additional Transportation Resources: