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
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.
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
The Thruway Authority, as part of its Interchange 23 to 24 Reconstruction project, will be piloting the installation of a noise barrier system made from recycled scrap rubber tires. Located at approximately milepost 146.2 Northbound, the barrier prototype will be 80' long and will utilize the absorption properties inherent within the rubber polymeric material. The effectiveness of noise absorption is currently being evaluated by the manufacturer.
This 'green' product will make use of approximately 75 scrap rubber tires per panel - 375 tires for a 15ft tall x 8ft wide wall section.
The forgiving and flexible properties of the material help to prevent any cracking, movement, or deterioration due to ground vibration or movement and 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.
In 2011, the New York State Thruway Authority initiated the process to design, install, operate, and maintain wind turbines on five Thruway Authority properties.
The project not only will reduce the carbon footprint of the Thruway Authority but will provide energy cost savings of an estimated 30-35 percent for the Buffalo Division.
Wind energy facilities at each of five locations along the Erie Section of the Thruway, south of Buffalo, will provide economical, clean electrical energy sufficient to meet the power needs at each location.
These sites are:
- Dunkirk Interchange (Exit 59; Town of Dunkirk)
- Eden/Angola Interchange (Exit 57A; Town of Evans)
- Silver Creek Interchange (Exit 58; Town of Hanover)
- Ripley Toll Barrier (Town of Ripley)
- Westfield Maintenance Facility (near Exit 60; Town of Westfield)
The turbines will be owned and operated by the Thruway Authority. Construction of the first turbine at the Dunkirk Interchange (Exit 59) is expected to begin in late 2011.
This project will help fulfill a commitment to the Thruway Authority’s core principle of environmental stewardship, and to assist in the attainment of the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio goals by promoting environmentally friendly technologies.
There is no estimate of the cost of the project at this time. It will be funded by revenues from toll collections.
The wind energy sites have been pre-screened and found to be highly feasible for the installation of wind turbines due to their close proximity to some of New York’s most valuable wind resources.
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.
Application of Joint Adhesive
Joint adhesive applied at the
centerline vs. without at the right shoulder
Interchange 24 Solar Farm
The Thruway Authority is proposing to build a “solar farm” adjacent to the Interchange 24 Toll Plaza in Albany.
The solar farm would be sited in the gore area of the Interchange and would have solar panels installed on racks angled to match the site’s latitude to maximize power generation. Power generated at the site would be used to offset the Interchange’s average electric consumption of 405,000 kilowatt-hours per year. A conceptual representation of what the “solar farm” may look like is included below.