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State Thruway Authority moves forward with $450M in upgrades

New York State Thruway Authority

The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors is moving ahead with a $450 million plan to rebuild 23 of the 27 service areas and provide significant upgrades to the remaining four.

On Tuesday, the board contracted with Empire State Thruway Partners to undertake the project. The authority said no toll or tax dollars will be used on the upgrades. The contract includes a 33-year term, with two phases of construction.

Phase one includes 16 service areas with staged reconstruction expected to begin in 2021. Phase two includes 11 service areas with renovations expected to begin in January 2023. 

To ensure continuity of services to Thruway customers during construction, no two consecutive service areas in the same direction of travel will be closed for renovations at the same time.

Additional amenities will include:

  • Exterior seating with access to Taste NY farm markets, picnic areas, play areas, and pet walking areas with comfort stations
  • Business centers available at designated service areas
  • Enhanced services such as call ahead ordering, kiosks and drive-thru service at most locations

Additional services proposed at select locations will include:

– Enclosed climate controlled pet areas

– Private area for nursing mothers

– Environmental Initiatives

Empire plans to implement a passenger vehicle electric charging program at all service areas. There are also new amenities planned for truckers including increased parking, and shower, laundry and fitness center facilities.

“The Thruway is a vital connector for interstate commerce and its service areas provide motorists with essential travel amenities that allow them to reach their destinations safely,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said. “The upgrades planned with this redevelopment project include innovative, modern initiatives to improve the customer experience for the tens of thousands of travelers who use the service areas every day.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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