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History of Thruway Service Areas

The reconstruction and redevelopment of the Thruway’s 27 service areas marks a significant milestone for the Thruway Authority and for the millions of customers that rely on these amenities each year. The original construction of these facilities began in the mid-1950s and opened to the traveling public by the turn of the decade. When opened, concessionaires offered a variety of services including cafeteria style food, coffee shops, and snack bars.

When developed, the plazas were built an average of 40 miles apart based on driving times and convenience for public access. 

In the early 1980s, Howard Johnson’s became the Authority’s service area operator. Marriott Travel Plazas (now HMS Host) acquired Howard Johnson’s in 1985 and the 26 service areas it operated on the Thruway. HMS Host would operate 12 and Delaware North Companies would operate 4 service areas through July 2021.

By the end of the 80s, the original travel plazas, built between 1954 and 1956, were determined to be obsolete and unsuitable to attract name brand food concept vendors. New designs for each plaza were presented for Authority approval. The concept was to provide Adirondack-style structures of 11,000 sq. ft. or 15,000 sq. ft.  All were replaced or remodeled between 1990-1994, the last significant redevelopment until now.

  Travel Plaza/Service Area Milepost Direction Opened Reconstructed

1

Ardsley

6.1

NB

04/19/1957

04/23/1992

2

Sloatsburg

33.2

NB

05/28/1957

09/03/1992

3

Ramapo

33.2

SB

1958

2000

4

Plattekill

64.8

NB

1956

12/28/1992

5

Modena

65.8

SB

1957

07/29/1993

6

Ulster

96.2

SB

1957

06/30/1993

7

Malden

103.3

NB

1956

08/31/1993

8

New Baltimore

127.1

NB & SB

04/03/1957

12/01/1992

9

Guilderland

152.8

EB

07/29/1955

05/26/1993

10

Pattersonville

168.2

WB

08/12/1955

02/03/1992

11

Mohawk

172.0

EB

1957

06/03/1994

12

Iroquois

209.9

WB

1957

03/29/1993

13

Indina Castle

209.9

EB

04/08/1957

03/29/1993

14

Schuyler

227.1

WB

1956

07/01/1994

15

Oneida

244.0

EB

1957

06/07/1993

16

Chittenango

266.3

WB

07/29/1955

08/01/1991

17

DeWitt

279.5

EB

1957

06/02/1994

18

Warners

291.5

WB

1957

09/24/1993

19

Port Byron

310.2

EB

1957

09/30/1993

20

Junius Ponds

323.8

WB

03/04/1955

04/19/1993

21

Clifton Springs

337.1

EB

08/04/1955

02/15/1992

22

Seneca

349.5

WB

1957

09/30/1991

23

Scottsville

365.7

EB

1957

06/15/1991

24

Ontario

375.6

WB

07/29/1955

10/18/1993

25

Pembroke

397.4

EB

1957

03/16/1992

26

Clarence

412.1

WB

1957

10/10/1991

 

  • 1954 – Construction begins on eight travel plazas (Ramapo, Guilderland, Pattersonville, Schuyler, Chittenango, Junius Ponds, Clifton Springs, Ontario)
  • 1955 – First travel plazas open on New York State Thruway, offering a variety of services including cafeteria style food, coffee shops, and snack bars. Original concessionaires included Buddies Food Service, Ohio Hot Shoppes, The Chefs, Interstate United, and Riese Enterprise, among others.
  • 1959 – Angola travel plaza, accessible to eastbound and westbound traffic, completed and open to travelers. All 27 travel plazas open to travelers.
  • 1985 - Marriott Travel Plazas (now HMS Host) acquired Howard Johnson’s and the 26 travel plazas it operated on the Thruway.  This occurred prior to the expiration of Howard Johnson’s contract, so Marriott secured a contract extension until 2005. 
  • 1986 - McDonald’s Corporation began operating the Angola Travel Plaza.  Prior to that, it was operated by Interstate United.
  • 1988 - Marriott (HMS Host) studied the potential for increased sales at 24 of the 26 Travel Plazas it operated.  The study showed the potential for a 70% increase in revenue based on a public desire for name brand concepts and more modern facilities.  
  • 1989 - The original Travel Plazas, built between 1954 and 1956, were determined to be obsolete and unsuitable to attract name brand food concept vendors, so in 1989 Marriott proposed 2 options: remodel and expand the existing structures or completely replace them. Later that year, new designs for each plaza were presented for Authority approval.  The concept was to provide Adirondack-style structures of 11,000 sq. ft. or 15,000 sq. ft. 
  • 1990 - An RFP was issued for the 10 former Marriott Travel Plazas and McDonald’s Corporation became the concessionaire for all of these locations.
  • 1990 – 1994 – Reconstruction and remodeling takes place at all 27 travel plazas.

Service Area Historic Photos

Service Areas

*Fuel services will remain available during construction at all Service Areas