A newly-installed Interstate 86 shield in the Town of Vestal. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

The next stretch of the Southern Tier Expressway to be granted the "Interstate 86" designation is expected to include about 30 miles in Tioga County and a few miles in Broome County.

This new I-86 sign displayed on the Vestal Parkway. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

New blue-and-red I-86 "shield" signs are being installed as part of the ongoing program to upgrade Route 17 to "interstate" status.

In recent weeks, Broome County motorists may have noticed new directional signs on the expressway and on several approaches to the highway.

The Federal Highway Administration is reviewing the state's application for formal designation of the next segment of Interstate 86. Official word from the agency is expected soon.

Signs at various locations in Broome County now direct drivers to "Route 17" and "To Interstate 86."

David Hamburg, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Transportation, said the signs should be particularly helpful to drivers from outside the area.

Hamburg said it's important for those motorists who may be traveling through the state by way of Interstate 86 to know they are on the correct route, even if they are on a section of the highway still designated as Route 17.

While much of Route 17 has been upgraded to I-86, improvements still are needed on some sections to qualify for the federal "interstate" designation.

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