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NYS Thruway service areas to be upgraded

The state says the service areas were originally built in the 1950s and have not had any significant redevelopment since the 1990s.
The new Western New York Welcome Center opened on Grand Island back in September.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors approved Tuesday Empire State Thruway Partners to redevelop the 27 service areas located along the thruway. 

The state says the service areas were originally built in the 1950s and have not had any significant redevelopment since the 1990s.

“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 J. 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.”

Empire State Thruway Partners submitted a $450 million plan to rebuild 23 of the 27 service area restaurant buildings and provide significant renovations and upgrades to the remaining four. The contract with Empire State Thruway includes two phases of construction.

The first phase will begin in 2021. Construction will begin with 16 services areas. 

The second phase will begin in 2023 to renovate 11 service areas. 

Here are some of the changes: 

  • 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 
  • Technology-forward building maintenance systems to monitor facilities, alert maintenance to issues and schedule predictive maintenance  
  • Enhanced services such as call ahead ordering, kiosks and drive-thru service at most locations 

Additional services proposed at select locations: 

  • Proposed Virtual Welcome and Tourism Centers, Virtual Thruway assistant, and Travel Counselors 
  • Food trucks and other seasonal offerings 
  • Enclosed climate controlled pet areas 
  • Private area for nursing mothers 
  • Environmental Initiatives  

Some of the renovated service areas will include ammenities for commercial drivers: 

  • Increase truck parking at service areas system-wide by 150 parking spaces 
  • Amenities such as shower and laundry facilities, fitness center, and healthy snacks 

For more information and project updates, go to thruway.ny.gov/cashless.

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