New York Roads - I-81 S. of Watertown/NY 17

south of Watertown and I-81/NY 17


I-81 and NY 17 multiplex through Binghamton, and I-88 is just a couple of miles up 81 from 17 there. NY 17 is slowly becoming I-86; the fate of the 17 designation along the Southern Tier Expressway/Quickway (the name changes at I-81, the STE is the western half) is unknown, but I agree with the roadgeek sentiment that 17 should be returned to its former surface routing where possible.


Courtesy Doug Kerr, taken around the turn of the millennium. At that time, I-86 didn't exist this far eastward yet, and the shield on the Exit 2E sign was covered shortly after this photo was taken.


Several years after Doug took his photos, the I-86 shields have been turned back around. When I took these photos, though, I-86 east of I-81 (for just a few miles) was just approved by AASHTO - meaning that these BGS's are again wrong!


SB photos with NY 17/I-86 EB, south of Binghamton.


Northbound along the NY 17/I-81 duplex, with the last photo courtesy Lou Corsaro. Think they could make the shields any smaller? The black background on the NY 17 shield is because, indeed, it's a shield and not a BGS plate. When I-86 is completed west of Binghamton, the 17 shield will be peeled off to reveal an Interstate shield beneath. Owego was added recently as the first destination, pushing Elmira downward.


The sign on the left in the second photo has been replaced by these, ready for an I-86 shield and giving more information to motorists about the upcoming split.


Old signs with a custom city font persist at the base of the Exit 3 ramp. This is about the worst place to put parking restriction signs, especially ones this complicated. While checking for cross traffic, ask yourself - do you feel odd or even today?


A pair of signs in terrible shape along I-81 SB while multiplexed with NY 17 (unless Inutril Prk is a destination and not an insult). NYSDOT never gets around to replacing button copy on such routes as I-81, NY 7, and I-84. Click on the second photo for the Doug Kerr daylight version.


Signs on I-81 SB approaching the northern/western junction with NY 17, which really doesn't need that big of a shield. Note that the second photo's sign says N Y 17 (no shield), because it's just that old. Also note that NY 17 doesn't get an exit number from I-88, because it's a freeway-freeway junction.


Approaching Binghamton from the north, the SB side of I-81 had to be cut deep into the mountainside to preserve a reasonable grade for the roadway. There's a tunnel effect for almost a mile as one rises upward, but no such phenomenon NB/downhill


The beginning of I-88 as seen from I-81.


A button-copy distance sign NB, somewhere between I-88 (Exit 6) and Exit 8.


The assembly traffic must decipher upon following Exit 8 from I-81 NB. The SB exit/NB entrance is a couple of miles away at Exit 9; thus all traffic that gets off here to use a gas station or find a restaurant must travel through the entire town of Whitney Point to get back. NY 206 starts at US 11 where both NY 79 and NY 26 turn off 11 (they're multiplexed in opposite directions, though, so there's no 79/26/11 plex), at an old truss bridge.


Great old stuff on Pomeroy St. NB in Cortland at Central Ave.


Older sign in Syracuse with a faded shield and centered exit tab.

Strange design, Almond St. SB at Fayette St. in the 'Cuse.

NB at Exit 18, this may have once been for the Carrier Dome.


A pair of NB photos (the first is on the Exit 19 ramp), courtesy Doug Kerr. I-690 and I-81 run together for about a mile, not actually multiplexed but exchanging ramps and being a very wide four-roadway. Note two different I-690 shields - the right one is clearly correct, and the left was probably achieved by stretching a 2di shield by 50%.


A little grainy, NB in 1976 courtesy Michael Summa. Just so you don't make my mistake: that's Taft Road, not Toll Road.


The NB Exit 41 ramp has a NY 11 shield for US 11.


Another NB 1976 Michael Summa photo. At least, it was labeled 1976, but I have reason to doubt that - the other one was color.

Continue north on I-81
Onto NY 17/I-86 alone
Back to I-81 main page


Follow I-81 into Pennsylvania
Exit 2W, 26, 41, or 42 to US 11
Exit 3 or 4 into Binghamton
Exit 4 to NY 7
Exit 5 to I-88
(Exit 8) to NY 26
(Exit 8) to NY 79
(Exit 8) to NY 206
Exit 16 to I-481
Exit 19 to I-690
Exit 25A to I-90
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