Construction and Designation
The origins of NY 590 date back to the start of the 1950s when work first began on the Sea Breeze Expressway, a part-divided highway, part limited-access highway that extended from Rochester north to the Lake Ontario shoreline at Sea Breeze. The highway was built in stages from north to south, with the first section—a divided highway connecting Culver Road to East Ridge Road in Irondequoit—opening to traffic in the early 1950s as a realignment of NY 18. The northern end of the roadway was situated just west of the Irondequoit Bay outlet, where Irondequoit Bay meets Lake Ontario. Construction on the next segment, a limited-access extension south to Empire Boulevard (U.S. Route 104 or US 104), began in the mid-1950s. The new roadway was completed in the late 1950s, at which time it became part of a rerouted US 104.
By 1960, construction was underway on the final piece, a second extension south to the Eastern Expressway (I-490) in eastern Rochester. The under-construction highway generally paralleled Winton Road, then designated as part of NY 47. The new extension was completed c. 1961, but went unnumbered until c. 1962 when NY 47 was realigned north of Blossom Road to follow the expressway north to the Empire Boulevard interchange, where it ended at US 104. The remainder of the Sea Breeze Expressway from I-490 to Blossom Road became part of NY 47 c. 1965 following the completion of what is now I-590 from the Can of Worms to Elmwood Avenue.
From 1970 to 1980, the Sea Breeze Expressway underwent a series of designation changes. On January 1, 1970, NY 47 was extended northward to encompass the entirety of the Sea Breeze Expressway. The change resulted in overlaps with US 104 from Empire Boulevard to the new Keeler Street Expressway, which was built south of Ridge Road in the late 1960s as a realignment of US 104, and NY 18 from East Ridge Road to Culver Road, from where NY 18 continued east along Lake Road to Webster. Both overlaps proved to be temporary: US 104 was realigned c. 1971 to cross Irondequoit Bay on the Irondequoit Bay Bridge while NY 18 was truncated c. 1973 to end in Rochester's Kodak Park.
In the late 1970s, the state of New York submitted a proposal to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials that would substantially alter how the Outer Loop was numbered. As part of the plan, the NY 47 designation would be eliminated while most of the northeastern section of the Outer Loop—from I-490 in Rochester to NY 104 (former US 104) to Irondequoit—would become the northernmost part of I-590. A replacement designation for NY 47 north of NY 104 was not named at the time. Most of the proposed changes took effect on March 18, 1980, when NY 47 was eliminated; however, I-590 was modified to end at its junction with I-490. In its place, the Rochester–Irondequoit leg of the Outer Loop was assigned NY 590, which continued north to Sea Breeze over former NY 47.
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