In April of 1957, plans were approved for a freeway which would be comprised of eight express lanes and four service lanes, running west and east through Staten Island. Construction began in 1959 on what would be known as the Clove Lakes Expressway. On January 30, 1964, the first section opened from the Goethals Bridge to Victory Boulevard. Ten months later, on November 19, the rest of the expressway had been completed--just a few days before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge first opened.
Today, the Staten Island Expressway is undergoing many changes. The bus lanes that were created in 1998 began to be used as high-occupancy vehicles in 2008. Late last year, it was finalized that these lanes would be extended. Additionally, the removal of certain overpasses will occur. These overpasses were constructed when the expressway was first built; however, they were erected to connect to the Richmond Parkway, which was never completed in select areas.
When you're coming from the Goethals Bridge driving eastbound toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge you will notice the speed limit of the Staten Island Expressway is 50 miles per hour. The first exit you will approach is Exit 4: Forest Avenue. As soon as you get off the exit, you will be on Gulf Avenue, where you can make an immediate left turn onto Forest Avenue.
The next exit is Exit 5: West Shore Expressway. Obviously, this ramp brings you to the West Shore Expressway, where you have two options to which you can drive. The first would be to take the first exit to the Outerbridge Crossing. The second would be to continue for a bit until you reach the loops which bring you onto the Korean War Veterans Parkway. This will take you all the way down to Richmond Avenue, by the Staten Island Mall.
Exit 7: Richmond Avenue is next. This exit actually lets you off at Fahy Avenue, where you would have to make the first left turn onto Lamberts Lane. Continuing down a few blocks, you will reach the stretch of Richmond Avenue right in between the neighborhoods of Graniteville and Bulls Head.
After passing the Richmond Avenue exit, you will come to Exit 8: Victory Boulevard. If you had taken Exit 7 and continued down Lamberts Lane until it turned into Christopher Lane, you would soon reach Victory Boulevard. There is a junction here where the drivers of Exit 7 and Exit 8 would meet. This leaves you right by the College of Staten Island.
Exit 9: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway is next, bringing you along Route 440. This will take you onto the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway, where you can continue all the way down to the less-frequently used Bayonne Bridge, which brings you into Bayonne, New Jersey.
Next you have Exit 11: Bradley Avenue. This exit actually leaves you off at the service road, South Gannon Avenue. From here, you can make either a left turn or a right turn at the next traffic signal, which is Bradley Avenue. Making a left would take you toward Victory Boulevard, where a Business Improvement District is planned. Making a right would take you toward Seaview Hospital.
Past Exit 11, you will find a new lane that has been given to the expressway. This lane is used for buses, but during rush hour, it is used for high-occupancy vehicles. The next exit is Exit 12: Todt Hill Road/Slosson Avenue. This exit actually leaves you off at Lortel Avenue, where Slosson Avenue would be your next left or right turn. Todt Hill Road is actually just a bit before where the exit leaves you off. Right beside the ramp for this exit is the popular Sports Park, which has Go Karts, Batting Cages, and more.
The next exit is Exit 13: Clove Road/Richmond Road/Hylan Boulevard. This exit lets you off on Milford Drive, which turns into Clove Road once you pass the overpass ahead. The next street after the overpass is Richmond Road. If you continue down Clove Road or use the junction which brings you to Narrows Road South, you will eventually get to the end of Hylan Boulevard.
Exit 15: Lily Pond Avenue/South Beach/Bay Street is next, bringing you to Lily Pond Avenue. To get to Bay Street from this exit, all you have to do is make a left turn once you reach Lily Pond Avenue and continue down a couple of blocks until you come to the end of the street. The intersecting street here will be Bay Street, which turns into New York Avenue if you were to turn right.
Exit 15 is the last exit on the Staten Island Expressway when you are traveling eastbound. Once you pass this exit, you will be taken to the toll road of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, where you will be driving into Brooklyn, New York. As of this writing, the toll for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is thirteen dollars. If you have an E-Z Pass, however, the price of the toll is dropped to $9.60.
Coming from the other direction, there are two exits as soon as you get off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The first is Exit 15: Lily Pond Avenue/Father Capodanno Boulevard. The ramp for this exit takes you into a loop which brings you to Lily Pond Avenue. Eventually, this street turns into Father Capodanno Boulevard, which you will find is parallel to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach.
The second exit here is Exit 14: Narrows Road/Hylan Boulevard. This is actually a three-lane exit which changes once you get past the first intersection street, Fingerboard Road. From here, the exit turns into Narrows Road North, the service road which runs parallel to the Staten Island Expressway in this direction.
The next exit going westbound is Exit 13: Richmond Road/Clove Road. This exit takes you down Narrows Road North. The second major intersecting street here is Richmond Road. As you continue further down, past Wagner College, the next street you come to will be Clove Road.
Exit 12: Slosson Avenue/Todt Hill Road is next. As with traveling in the eastbound direction, another lane is given to the expressway starting here. This, too, is used for buses and high-occupancy vehicles. Driving down the ramp of Exit 12, the first street you come to will be Slosson Avenue. The second street after this is Todt Hill Road, onto which you can only make a right turn, as it is the end of the street.
Following Exit 12 is Exit 11: Bradley Avenue. The ramp will take you to North Gannon Avenue, the next street which runs parallel to the Staten Island Expressway. Once you get off the ramp to North Gannon Avenue, the first intersecting street you come to will be Bradley Avenue.
Next, you have Exit 10: Victory Boulevard. The ramp for this exit takes you to North Gannon Avenue, where the first street you come to will be Willowbrook Road. After Willowbrook Road, you will reach the intersecting Victory Boulevard, right by Gaeta Park.
Exit 9: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway is next, bringing you to Route 440. Just like Exit 9 going in the eastbound direction, this exit takes you to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway. By driving along this expressway, you will eventually reach the Bayonne Bridge.
Once again, Exit 7 going westbound is the same as when you are traveling eastbound, as they both lead you to the section of Richmond Avenue by the neighborhoods of Graniteville and Bulls Head. When traveling westbound, it is much faster to get to Richmond Avenue, as the ramp will take you in a loop which ends with a traffic light on Richmond Avenue.
Passing this exit, you will reach Exit 6: South Avenue. The ramp for this exit brings you to Goethals Road North. After you pass the Staten Island School of Civic Leadership and a few more streets to your right, you will come to the intersecting South Avenue, right by Staten Island Industrial Park.
The next exit is once again the same as when you are traveling in the eastbound direction. This is Exit 5: West Shore Expressway. You can either travel all the way down until you come to a loop bringing you east along the Korean War Veterans Parkway, or you can take Exit 1 here to the Outerbridge Crossing.
The last exit of the Staten Island Expressway going westbound is Exit 3: Western Avenue. The ramp for this exit takes you down Goethals Road North. Continuing down, the first street you will come to will be Western Avenue, which is right by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Once you pass the next exit and continue on down I-278, you will be led to the Goethals Bridge, which will take you into Elizabeth, New Jersey. The toll is not paid when traveling into New Jersey. If you are traveling into Staten Island, however, the current price would be twelve dollars. The toll changes to $9.50 if you use an E-Z Pass during peak hours and $7.50 if you use an E-Z Pass during off-peak hours. Tolls are reflect rates as of 5/17/2012.