New York State Route 12E

New York State Route 12E is a state highway located entirely within the northwestern part of Jefferson County in northern New York, USA. Officially, the southern terminus of NY 12E is at NY 12 in the city of Watertown; however, its signed terminus is at NY 12F in the village of Brownville. Its northern terminus, both signed and official, is at NY 12 in the village of Clayton. NY 12E diverges westward and then eastward to follow the shoreline of Lake Ontario, unlike NY 12, which follows a direct north-south routing between Watertown and Clayton. The portion of NY 12E north of its junction with NY 180 is part of the Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway.


In 1924, NY 3 was assigned to the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway, a Portland, MainePortland, Oregon auto trail that in New York connected North Tonawanda (near Niagara Falls) in the west to Plattsburgh in the east via Rochester and Watertown. In Jefferson County, the trail and NY 3 entered Watertown on modern U.S. Route 11 and exited on what is now NY 12F. At Dexter, NY 3 turned north to follow current NY 180 and NY 12E to Clayton, where it continued eastward on modern NY 12.

In the 1930 renumbering, NY 3 was rerouted to exit Watertown to the east on its modern alignment. The former alignment of NY 3 from Watertown to Clayton was then redesignated as NY 12E. By 1935, an alternate route of NY 12E extending from the modern junction of NY 12E and NY 180 to downtown Watertown along the northern bank of the Black River was designated NY 12F. The alignments of NY 12E and NY 12F east of what is now NY 180 were swapped between 1938 and 1942, placing both routes on their current alignments.

On August 1, 1979, maintenance of NY 12E between Broadway in Cape Vincent and the Brownville village line, as well as the portion of Bridge Street in the town of Hounsfield, was transferred from Jefferson County to New York State as part of a larger highway maintenance swap between the two levels of government. In return, the county assumed maintenance of NY 12E between Bridge Street in Brownville and the Watertown city line. Within Brownville, the state also assumed maintenance of NY 12E west of Bridge Street and the remainder of Bridge Street; both had previously been village-maintained. Following the swap, the segment of NY 12E between Bridge Street and the Watertown city limits became concurrent with County Route 190 while Bridge Street became New York State Route 971H, an unsigned reference route.

Current signage along NY 12E indicates that the route has been rerouted east of Bridge Street to follow NY 971H across the Black River to a terminus at NY 12F. However, the 2007 New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) description of routes in New York and the 2006 NYSDOT Traffic Data Report both indicate that NY 12E's southern terminus is still located at NY 12 in downtown Watertown.

Major intersections


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