Interstate 678 is more commonly referred to by New Yorkers as the Van Wyck Expressway (or just "the Van Wyck", properly pronounced "Van Wike", not "Van Wick), and is named for Robert A. Van Wyck, the first mayor of New York City after the five boroughs were combined into one city, from 1898-1901. The Van Wyck Expressway is the roadway's locally-designated name for most of its route. Interstate 678 runs from a southern terminus at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and continues north across the Bronx Whitestone Bridge to a northern terminus at the Bruckner Interchange in the Bronx, which connects I-678 to Interstate 95 and Interstate 278. Interstate 678 also interchanges with Interstate 495, the Long Island Expressway.
North of Northern Boulevard (Exit 13) in northern Queens, Interstate 678 is designated as the Whitestone Expressway. This section of I-678 has its origins in the Whitestone Parkway, which was built at the same time as the Bronx Whitestone Bridge so as to service it. North of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, it follows a section of what was once the Hutchinson River Parkway. Both of these sections were converted to Interstate Highway standards in the early 1960s to allow for commercial traffic and given its Interstate designation when the conversion was completed. The Van Wyck Expressway soon linked to it, and this section became part of I-678 in 1971 after the planned Astoria Expressway was canceled. Although I-678 ends northbound at the Bruckner Interchange, the highway itself continues beyond the interchange as the Hutchinson River Parkway to the Connecticut state line, though commercial traffic is not allowed beyond this point.
Interstate 678 is known for its frequent traffic jams, particularly at the Kew Gardens Interchange, where it connects with the Grand Central Parkway, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard (NY-25); and Union Turnpike.
Portions of the AirTrain run on elevated tracks above I-678 south of exit 5 (Atlantic Avenue). The AirTrain is a light rail system connecting JFK Airport to Jamaica Station, a major transfer point on the Long Island Rail Road with frequent rail connections to Manhattan.
While designated as a three-digit interstate spur route, I-678 never intersects with its ostensible "parent" interstate, Interstate 78. Plans had existed to have Interstate 78 continue through New York City from its current terminus at the Holland Tunnel and along the (unbuilt) Lower Manhattan Expressway, over the Williamsburg Bridge, onto the Bushwick Expressway to the southern end of I-678 and continue up an extended Clearview Expressway.
The DOT is currently working on plans to extend the southbound Main Street entrance ramp as a fourth-lane that will also serve as an "Exit Only" lane for Exit 5- Atlantic Avenue. This will reduce traffic on both the Main Street entrance ramp and the expressway itself as current traffic has a very difficult time merging on the short entrance ramp.
Legally, most of I-678 is defined as part of Interstate Route Connector 515 in New York Highway Law § 340-a.
|Queens||Terminals 5-6||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Terminal 7||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Northbound exit and southbound entrance; northbound traffic signal controls weaving with entrance from Terminal 4|
|Terminals 8-9||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Terminal 4||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Terminals 1-2-3||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|0.00||South end of I-678|
|Return to Terminals, Police Building 269, Long Term Parking, Port Authority Administration, General Aviation, Tow Pound, Terminals 8-9 Hourly Parking|
|All Cargo Areas, Long Term Parking, Rental Cars||Southbound exit only|
|Federal Circle - Rental Car Returns, Long Term Parking, Cargo Areas|
|Airport Services||Southbound exit only|
|Ramada Plaza||Southbound exit and entrance|
|2.00||1E-W||Signed as exits 1E (east) and 1W (west)|
|4.76||6||Jamaica Avenue, Hillside Avenue|
|7||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|8||Main Street, Union Turnpike|
|5.34||9||Southbound exit is via exit 8|
|5.87||10||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|6.78||11||69th Road, Jewel Avenue, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Avenue - Flushing Meadows Corona Park|
|7.86||12||Signed as exits 12A (east) and 12B (west)|
|9.28||13B||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|9.43||North end of Van Wyck Expressway; south end of Whitestone Expressway|
|17||14th Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|17||3rd Avenue||Northbound exit only|
|12.45||Bronx Whitestone Bridge over the East River|
|Local Streets - Ferry Point Park||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|18||Lafayette Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|19||- New England, George Washington Bridge, Triboro Bridge||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|14.33||Continuation beyond I-95/I-278|