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New York State Thruway Authority

Project Design Elements

Highway Design

Roadway & Interchange Reconstruction

Roadway Interchange Reconstruction 1Roadway Interchange Reconstruction 2

This type of project includes work to replace an existing highway or interchange. It generally involves rebuilding the existing infrastructure and may include geometric improvements. Specifically, these projects can provide a full depth replacement of the existing pavement, whether it be Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) or Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA), along with extensive rebuilding of the pavement foundation.

These projects often involve a new or reconstructed drainage system, utility work, vertical or horizontal alignment changes, widening of the existing shoulders, and various other safety related upgrades or improvements.

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Pavement Resurfacing, Restoration & Rehabilitation

Pavement Resurfacing, Restoration and RehabilitationThis type of project includes the work to preserve the pavement and extend the service life of an existing highway segment, including any preventative maintenance or safety improvement upgrades that may be necessary. These projects vary in complexity and can range from single course (2") overlays on up to more involved multi-course (5" or more) paving activities. Other general maintenance activities that may be involved with these projects include joint and crack sealing, underlying pavement repairs, drainage system improvements and correction of minor subsurface problems.




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Safety Upgrades & Improvements

Safety Upgrades and ImprovementsThis type of project includes measures to improve the safety of existing highway segments. Generally this involves the removal, relocation or protection of roadside obstacles. Additional safety related work can include upgrading any existing guide rail / median rail to current standards, installation of impact attenuators, slope flattening, improved signage or lighting, replacement of existing or additional pavement markings, and/or pavement grooving or grinding.





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Highway Speed E-ZPass

Increasing traffic volumes Thruway-wide, especially in urban areas serviced by the Thruway, continually challenge the Authority to reduce congestion within toll collection areas. When possible, additional staffed and dedicated E-ZPass lanes have been added; however, traffic demands at the existing barriers continue to grow.

To help reduce delays and provide a means to address future traffic demands, the Authority has installed Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes at the Spring Valley Toll Barrier and the Woodbury Toll Barrier. The Authority is further considering their installation at other locations when and where feasible along the Thruway system. Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes allow E-ZPass customers to drive through selected toll collection locations at highway speeds using dedicated E-ZPass lanes. Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes are  physically isolated from the location used to serve cash-paying customers.

The addition of Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes through increases traffic flow through the toll collection area. Highway Speed E-ZPass:

  • Reduces traffic congestion and travel delays both for motorists using Highway Speed E-ZPass and those using a staffed toll lane. All traffic can flow through the Plaza safely and efficiently.
  • Reduces the overall noise associated with a toll barrier by reducing the volume of traffic decelerating, stopping and accelerating to highway speeds. A significant reduction in tractor-trailer braking noise is achieved.
  • Reduces vehicle emissions due to a reduction in the number of vehicles braking, stopping and accelerating at the barrier. A reduction in vehicle delays and associated idling fumes at the barrier is achieved.

Woodbury Toll BarrierThis photo of the recently completed Woodbury Toll Barrier shows how the system works. Motorists are advised well in advance of the barrier that E-ZPass customers stay in the center lanes and cash customers move to the right. Concrete barrier separates the E-ZPass and cash customers. Those using E-ZPass are allowed to pay electronically while traveling at highway speeds.

Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes allow customers traveling at highway speeds to safely separate themselves from the Toll Plaza lanes, travel through the area at highway speeds while electronically paying their toll and safely merge with the traffic. Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes can process significantly more vehicles than staffed toll lanes.

The New York State Thruway Authority opened its first highway speed E-ZPass lanes at the Spring Valley Toll Barrier in Rockland County on January 18, 2007.

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Noise Wall Construction

Noise Wall ConstructionNoise walls or barriers are typically constructed to help reduce traffic noise. In addition to this primary function, noise walls also provide visual screening for neighborhoods and communities along the highway. A noise wall project involves many detailed engineering design processes including acoustical evaluations, consideration of aesthetics, cost evaluations, roadway safety design, structural design, foundation design and eventually construction. The NYS Thruway Authority follows the "Federal Procedure for Abatement of Highway Traffic and Construction Noise, 23 CFR 772", which describes two types of noise abatement projects. For more information regarding the policy, refer to the Noise Analysis section of our Environmental Stewardship page.

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Rock Slope Stabilization & Removal

Rock slope stabilization or removal is provided to accommodate new roadway alignments via rock cuts or for existing unstable rock slopes to stabilize the slope and provide improved catchment area. Rock slope stabilization recommendations are based upon an evaluation from rock cores, amount of exposed bedrock, existing site conditions and amount of rock present. Proposed cut angles (angle of the rock face measured parallel from the roadway surface) are based upon rock type, bedding orientation, fracture orientation, and slope geometry. Recommended cut angles are the steepest angle which will provide a stable, low maintenance slope. Catchment ditches prevent falling rock from reaching the roadway. Other methods of mitigating an existing slope may include rock scaling, rock bolts, slope mesh, buttresses, and rock fall barriers.

Rock Slope Stabilization / Removal 1Rock Slope Stabilization / Removal 2 Rock Slope Stabilization / Removal 3

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Toll Plaza/Barrier Improvements

Toll Plaza/Barrier ImprovementsIn an effort to continue our goal to construct, operate and maintain a safe and efficient highway network, improvement and upgrades are constantly being made to our toll plazas and barriers. Increasing traffic volumes and the need to provide pavement repairs with the least disruption to traffic flow has led to the use of more innovative rehabilitation solutions. An example of this involves the use of precast concrete pavement slabs to replace any existing cracked or deteriorating slabs. The existing concrete pavement can be removed and new precast concrete slabs installed, thus allowing the lane to be opened to traffic immediately after. Improvements in technology have also led to more efficient methods of collecting tolls.

E-ZPass Signing SystemAn example of this is the implementation of the E-ZPass tag system. Not only can E-ZPass be used in every toll lane, but several plazas and barriers have dedicated E-ZPass lanes installed for added convenience. To help provide better guidance into these E-ZPass lanes, a new pilot program is being implemented at some of the busier toll plazas. As part of this program, lane numbering is provided on the canopy over each toll lane along with lane striping and numbering on the plaza pavement. Advance notice signing will alert drivers as to which lane numbers are dedicated E-ZPass lanes and the lane striping will assist to channelize the traffic into each lane making it more accessible. Further E-ZPass improvements are continually being developed and implemented, such the installation Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes when and where feasible along the Thruway system. For more information refer to the Highway Speed E-ZPass design section.


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