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New York State Thruway Authority

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For immediate release August 28, 2012

Contact: Office of Public Affairs, (518) 436-2983 

Labor Day Weekend: Summertime Winding Down on the Thruway

Know Before You Go

As Labor Day weekend heralds the end of the summer season, the New York State Thruway Authority and State Police Troop T remind motorists to use extreme care during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. It’s smart to plan far in advance and to know before you go.

“Labor Day Weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, as motorists head out to enjoy the last days of summer, family celebrations and barbecues,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison. “Whether it’s a last minute trip to your favorite fishing spot on a lake or a trip to the ocean beaches, be alert, drive without distractions. Avoid texting while driving and speeding through construction zones.”

During the 2011 Labor Day weekend, more than 2.6 million vehicles traveled more than 93 million miles on the Thruway between Friday, September 2, and Monday, September 5.

“State Police Troop T, which patrols the Thruway exclusively, will be out in full force throughout the holiday weekend, aiding motorists, and enforcing the vehicle and traffic law,” said Sgt. Thomas Ferritto.  “We can’t repeat it enough, buckle up and properly secure children age four and under in a child safety seat, and use only hands-free cell phones. We will be looking for motorists creating hazardous driving conditions, including speeding and driving while intoxicated.”

Holiday traffic delays are most likely to occur at the Lackawanna and Williamsville toll barriers near Buffalo; and the I-190 (Niagara Thruway) Grand Island Bridge Toll Plazas northbound and southbound; at Albany Interchanges 23 and 24; at the Canaan toll barrier and Interchange B1 on the Berkshire section of I-90, which connects the Thruway to the Massachusetts Turnpike; at Newburgh Interchange 17; at Harriman Interchange 16, and at the Woodbury, New Rochelle and Tappan Zee Bridge toll barriers near the New York City region.

The busiest section of the Thruway will most likely be the Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor (Rockland and Westchester counties), particularly northbound at the beginning of the holiday weekend, and southbound at the close of the weekend.

Motorists are encouraged to sign up for E-ZPass and enjoy the most convenient way to pay tolls, reduce congestion, and reduce travel time. The Thruway Authority offers all types of discount plans. For additional information, please go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/discount.html .

Drivers heading on the Thruway with an E-ZPass will be able to take advantage of the Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes at the Woodbury Toll Barrier. The Highway Speed E-ZPass Lanes allow customers traveling at the 65 mile per hour speed limit to safely separate themselves from the toll plaza lanes while electronically paying their toll. Dedicated E-ZPass lanes will be available in all of the Thruway’s busiest toll plazas to ease traffic congestion.

Motorists and their families should know that all travel plazas along the Thruway will be providing services for the Labor Day Weekend. For a complete listing of travel plazas along the Thruway, services and amenities offered to motorists, please visit the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/travelplazas/index.html .

Drivers should be mindful of possible construction areas along the Thruway. The Thruway Authority usually suspends construction each year for the Labor Day weekend with the exception of permanent construction zones. Go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/laneclosures/index.html to find out more about lane closures. While driving through construction zones, remember to remain cautious, alert and cognizant of posted work zone speed limits.

Should major delays occur, motorists will be advised through electric Variable Message Signs along the roadway, TRANSalerts, and the Thruway’s Highway Advisory Radio. The HAR stations broadcast traffic advisories, road conditions, and safety tips to travelers 24 hours a day. For additional information on the HAR stations, please go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/har/index.html .

TRANSalerts are free notices sent to subscribers automatically via email or text messaging, informing them of major unscheduled incidents that may affect their travel on the Thruway. Since the system’s inception in August 2006, more than 10,000 subscribers have signed up to receive TRANSalert notifications. Motorists may subscribe to the TRANSalert service at the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml .

By using the Thruway Authority’s interactive mapping interface on its website, motorists may also check on current, up-to-the-minute traffic incidents and access cameras along the various sections of the Thruway system. There are currently more than 140 operating traffic cameras. Customers can access those cameras by visiting the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/map/index.html?layer=cameras.

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