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New York State Thruway Authority

Innovation and Development

The Thruway Authority is interested in pursuing new technologies to improve operations, increase safety, enhance energy efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts. Universities and research groups interested in partnering with the Authority should contact the organization.  Current, but not limited, areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Renewable energies,
  • Improved paving techniques,
  • Inventory asset management software,
  • Traffic data management systems,
  • Non-destructive infrastructure evaluation techniques, and
  • Non-conventional construction materials (including recycled materials).

Recess Triple Drop Striping

Image of Recess Triple Drop Striping

The Thruway Authority has a patent pending on one of the safest pavement striping programs available nationwide.  The new pavement marking system, invented by an Authority engineer and known as  “Recess Triple Drop”, is more visible and durable in all lighting and weather conditions, making the highway safer throughout the year.

Image of Recess Triple Drop Striping

Recess Triple Drop uses colored ceramic elements that are mixed with various sized glass beads and applied onto a recessed epoxy base, providing high reflectivity.  By installing the ceramic elements and glass beads into a one tenth inch deep groove, the stripe is protected from plow damage in the winter months.  To apply the new system, an installer sprays epoxy into the groove, then drops wet-reflective ceramic elements, followed by large glass beads and small glass beads. The glass beads supply the superior night time reflectivity, more than twice as bright as standard highway striping. The ceramic element provides wet and fog reflectivity, sustaining the stripe’s visibility during all types of weather conditions.

The Thruway is the only super highway in the country using this new technology and including this striping system in all 2011 highway resurfacing and rehabilitation contracts. By the end of 2011, the Authority will have treated nearly 350 lane miles of Thruway pavement. By 2012, the Authority will specify this treatment in all annual striping contracts. Retreatment is expected every three years. At this rate of application, the new striping system can be provided at a similar cost to more conventional epoxy striping that is redone every other year. This innovation may well be the future for highway striping in the Northeast and other locations where plowing activity prevents the use of a raised pavement marking system.

View Syracuse's News Channel 9 Video about this process. (wmv, 22.4 MB)

Recycled Tire Noise Barrier Pilot

Rendering of recycled tire noise barriers As part of the Thruway Authority's (Authority) Interchange 23 to 24 Reconstruction Project, the Authority is piloting the installation of a noise barrier system made from recycled scrap rubber tires. The barrier prototype, located at milepost 146.2 northbound, is 80' long and  utilizes the absorption properties inherent within the rubber polymeric material.

Overall, approximately 375 scrap tires will be used to construct a 15' tall x 8' wide wall. The forgiving and flexible properties of the material help to prevent cracking, movement, or deterioration of the wall due to ground vibration or movement.  The tires also provide excellent weather durability due to the rubber polymer. According to the manufacturer, the rubber panels offer a virtually indefinite lifetime in outside exposure, and experience no impact due to hot or cold temperatures, freeze and thaw, or precipitation. The effectiveness of noise absorption, however is currently being evaluated by the manufacturer.

Wind Energy - Turbines

Wind TurbineThe Thruway Authority (Authority) is in the process of designing and installing wind energy facilities at five locations along the Erie Section of the Thruway, south of Buffalo. The turbines will be owned and operated by the Authority.  These facilities will provide economical, clean electrical energy sufficient to meet the power needs at each location while reducing the Authority's carbon footprint and providing the Authority's Buffalo Division with an energy cost savings of approximately 30-35 percent.

The wind energy locations are in close proximity to some of New York's most valuable wind resources.

These sites are:

  • Dunkirk Interchange 59 (Town of Dunkirk)     
  • Eden/Angola Interchange 57A (Town of Evans)
  • Silver Creek Interchange 58 (Town of Hanover)
  • Ripley Toll Barrier (Town of Ripley)
  • Westfield Maintenance Facility, near Interchange 60 (Town of Westfield)

This project will help fulfill the Authority's commitment to environmental stewardship and will assist in attaining the State's Renewable Energy Portfolio goals by promoting environmentally friendly technologies. It is anticipated the construction at all five locations will be completed by the end of 2014.

Joint Adhesive Study

The Thruway Authority has been conducting a study to determine the benefit of applying a joint adhesive between top course asphalt placements (driving lane/passing lane) by applying the sealant of the vertical butt joint of the cold joint prior to paving the adjacent lane.  The goal of employing this technique was to determine if this practice would inhibit the formation of centerline cracks and thus delay the need for surface sealing by maintenance forces.

The first project to include the joint adhesive was applied in 2008, between mileposts 216.4 and 219.9.  Joint adhesive was applied to the centerline joint in advance of the paving operation with a 2” flat wand head.  In 2011, Authority evaluators re-visited the site, and gave the section high marks for joint integrity and appearance.  Joint adhesive application at the centerline and shoulder joints is now being included in all contract work and will continue to be monitored.

Image of Application of Joint Adhesive
Application of Joint Adhesive
Image of Joint adhesive applied at the centerline vs. without at the right shoulder
Joint adhesive applied at the
centerline vs. without at the right shoulder
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