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For Immediate Release: 05/12/20
Contact: Office of Media Relations and Communications | (518) 471-5300 |


Empire State Thruway Partners Selected to Redevelop 27 Service Areas on the Thruway 
Proposal Includes New and Updated Buildings, Upgraded Amenities and Expanded Food and Beverage Options   

View Renderings of the Updated Service Areas  

The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors today approved the selection of a proposer to redevelop the 27 service areas located on the Thruway. Empire State Thruway Partners was selected from bids received in response to a Request for Proposals. The service areas were originally built in the 1950s, with the last significant redevelopment taking place in 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.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the initiative to reimagine the Thruway service areas in his 2018 State of the State address.

Empire State Thruway Partners submitted a $450 million investment 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 Partners includes a 33-year term, with two phases of construction. Phase one includes 16 service areas with staged reconstruction expected to begin in 2021.  Phase two includes 11 service areas with renovations expected to begin in January 2023. To ensure continuity of services to Thruway customers during construction, no two consecutive service areas in the same direction of travel will be closed for renovations at the same time.

Amenities and services were established in the RFP using feedback from a Thruway administered customer survey in 2018, which gathered information from customers to gain fresh insight into consumer preferences, best practices and appropriate business models.

Service Area Proposal

New Building and Levels of Service 
Empire State Thruway Partners proposed various levels of service and building sizes to accommodate travelers’ needs and desires. Most buildings will be configured to provide entrances from both the parking lot and fuel station facilities.

Additional amenities include: 

  • 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 

Taste NY and I Love NY Commitment 
Empire State Thruway Partners detailed a commitment to promoting the I Love NY program and local tourism and showcasing Taste NY products in their proposal through self-branded convenience stores and gift shops. The proposal includes a tenant plan featuring a variety of options for travelers, expanded hours of operation and multiple food concepts, and various seating options for travelers. 

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  
Empire State Thruway Partners proposed various environmental initiatives as a commitment to sustainable and technology-advanced design for the service area redevelopment. Plans include:

  •  LEED Silver rating principles at all locations 
  • Solar arrays integrated into roofing systems and parking areas 
  • Rainwater harvesting, retention ponds, irrigation free landscaping and use of non-invasive landscaping that is drought resistant and requires low maintenance 
  • Reduced light pollution and glare through building materials, design and light fixture selection and placement 

Additionally, under direct guidance and consultation with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Empire plans to implement a passenger vehicle electric charging program at all Service Areas to further Governor Cuomo’s goals of reducing emissions and expanding electric vehicle infrastructure across the State.

Commercial Trucking Industry 

New amenities are also proposed by Empire State Thruway Partners 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 

The Thruway Authority's 27 Service Areas are accessible to the 250 million vehicles that travel on the Thruway system every year. Thruway Service Areas are open 24 hours a day and offer motorists unique food and retail options, restroom facilities and fueling for passenger and commercial vehicles. Taste NY Farm Markets and Tourism Information Centers are also available. 


The Thruway is scheduled to convert to an entirely cashless tolling system by the end of 2020. For more information and project updates, go to

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subject to the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA), the Public Authorities Law, and the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Public hearings for SAPA will be conducted in 2020.