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The New York State Thruway (officially the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway) is a limited-access toll highway in the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker. Built in the 1950s by the State of New York in order to connect the major cities of New York, it is the longest toll road in the United States, with the 496.00 mile (798.23 km) mainline extending from the Pennsylvaniamarker/New York border in the west to Albanymarker in the east, and the New York Citymarker borderline to the south. In 1958 it was incorporated into the Interstate Highway System as portions of Interstate 87, Interstate 287, Interstate 95, Interstate 90, Interstate 84, and Interstate 190. It is operated by the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA). The New York Thruway is considered one of the busiest highways in the country (according to the IBBTA, the Thruway is the nation's 4th most heavily traveled toll road).

Only three sections of the Thruway system are not part of the Interstate Highway System; these are designated with unsigned reference routes. One such section (route 982L) is the Garden State Parkway Connector, which branches from the Thruway mainline at exit 14A in Spring Valleymarker to connect to the Garden State Parkway at the New Jersey state line near Montvalemarker. Another section (route 915H) is located on the Thruway mainline within exit 24 in Albanymarker, as the mainline is unsigned for a brief distance between the point where Interstate 87 departs the roadway and Interstate 90 enters it. The third section (route 912M) , the longest such section on the Thruway, is a six-mile (10 km) portion of the Berkshire Section, which has no Interstate designation between exit 21A on the Mainline in Selkirkmarker and exit B1 in Schodackmarker, where the Berkshire Section merges with I-90.

Of the in the Thruway system, 632.31 miles (98.6%) carries at least one Interstate designation. Interstate 90, which comprises the bulk of the mainline and the Berkshire Connector, runs for along the Thruway, including as part of the Berkshire Connector and on the mainline. Interstate 87 comprises the remaining of the mainline, including an long concurrency with Interstate 287 north of New York City. Interstate 84 covers another , including the New York State Bridge Authority-maintained Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, while Interstate 287 spans 29.76 miles (including the shared with I-87), Interstate 190 for and Interstate 95 for .


Route description

The New York State Thruway system is a collection of seven individual components across the state of New Yorkmarker, with the long mainline as the centerpiece. The system connects New York to four neighboring states (Connecticutmarker, Massachusettsmarker, New Jerseymarker, and Pennsylvaniamarker) as well as the Canadianmarker province of Ontariomarker.

All highways maintained by the NYSTA lack the green reference markers that exist on all New York State Department of Transportationmarker-maintained roads, as would be expected. In their place, NYSTA-controlled roadways use small, square tenth-mile markers with a white background and blue numbering. These markers differ from those used by NYSDOT on limited-access highways as state-maintained expressways typically feature tenth-mile signage similar to that used in the remainder of the United Statesmarker while state routes utilize the reference markers, which display mileage information on their third row.

Except on the mainline, mile markers on NYSTA-maintained roads bear the Thruway logo on the top and an identifier for that highway, such as an I-84 shield for Interstate 84 and the letters "CW" for the Cross-Westchester Expressway (Interstate 287). Mainline mile markers feature only the word "mile" and the current milepost of the Thruway in relation to New York City.

Main line



The New York State Thruway begins as Interstate 90 at the Pennsylvaniamarker state line in Chautauqua Countymarker. It follows the shore lines of Lake Eriemarker for 70 miles to Cheektowagamarker, a suburb of Buffalomarker east of the city. U.S. Route 20 and New York State Route 5 both parallel the Thruway thru western New York from Exit 61 (Shortman Road) (RR 950D) in Ripley, New Yorkmarker to Exit 55 Lackawanna.

In Silver Creekmarker, Routes 20 and 5 are now concurrent and still parallel Interstate 90. Interstate 90 enters Erie Countymarker, interchanging with several state and county roads. Exit 56 is for the New York State Route 179 (the Milestrip Expressway) in West Senecamarker. The Southern Expressway (US 219) merges into the Thruway at Exit 55. Interstate 90 enters Buffalomarker, where it interchanges with its first spur, Interstate 190 at Exit 53. Interstate 90 passes to the west of Walden Galleria after Exit 52W. Interstate 290 interchanges at Exit 50 in Amherstmarker. Interstate 90 turns to the east and heads towards Syracusemarker. Route 90 now parallels New York State Route 33 and Route 5 again as it re-enters Erie County.

Across upstate New York, it roughly parallels the route of cross-state railroad tracks, which in turn follow the Erie Canal, passing north of Bataviamarker, south of Rochestermarker, north of Syracusemarker, and north of Uticamarker before following the valley of the Mohawk River to Albanymarker. Interstate 90 intersects with New York State Route 77 at Exits 48A/B in Genesee Countymarker. Interstate 90 enters Monroe Countymarker and interchanges with Interstate 490 at Exit 47. Interstate 90 continues eastward, edging closer to Rochestermarker. Interstate 90 interchanges with an auxiliary route, Interstate 390 in Henrietta.

South of Albany, it continues as the southern portion of Interstate 87, roughly paralleling the Hudson River to the river's west, passing near Kingstonmarker, New Paltzmarker, and Newburghmarker. In Harrimanmarker, the major closed ticket system comes to an end at the Woodbury toll barrier, located on the mainline within exit 16 (New York State Route 17), a trumpet interchange. Along with the mainline barrier in Harriman, a separate toll plaza exists on the exit 16 ramp midway between the Thruway and NY 17 exit 131 (New York State Route 32). To distinguish between exit 16 and the Woodbury toll barrier, Thruway tickets list the NY 17 interchange as exit 16 and the Woodbury toll plaza as exit 15, although the actual exit 15 is situated almost to the south.

Northbound traffic on I-87 traveling through the Woodbury toll barrier is given a ticket stamped for exit 15 while travelers on southbound I-87 must surrender their ticket and pay the appropriate toll. Traffic heading south on I-87 and exiting at exit 16 must pay the appropriate toll for exit 16 at the Harriman toll plaza. Traffic heading north on I-87 and exiting at exit 16 must pay a fixed-rate toll at the Harriman plaza. Traffic entering the Thruway from NY 17 east must pay a fixed-rate toll at the Harriman barrier and, if traveling north, collect a discounted ticket stamped exit 16 at the Woodbury barrier. The ticket is identical to that given for exit 15 with the exception that the toll for exit 16 is subtracted from all of the prices.

South of Harriman, the Thruway follows the valley of the Ramapo River until its junction near the New Jerseymarker border with Interstate 287, which it joins, then cuts east across Rockland Countymarker. It connects with the New York segment of the Garden State Parkway then crosses the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridgemarker. On the east side of the Hudson it continues south through Westchester Countymarker to the Bronx. The exit numbering system begins at the Bronx/Westchester County line with exit 1 and ends with exit 61 at the Pennsylvania/New York border.

Tappan Zee Bridge (I-87)
The highway employs both open-system and closed-system tolling. From the Bronx/Westchester County line to the New York State Route 17 exit, an open system (coin-drop) is used. From there northward, a closed system is employed where drivers must obtain tickets which show their point of entry and the cost of traveling from there to their desired point of exit. Upon exiting the Thruway, the ticket must be surrendered and the appropriate toll must be paid. Two separate closed systems are used on the Thruway mainline; one between NY 17 and Buffalo (with an inclusive spur route) and another from Buffalo to Exit 61.

Berkshire Section

The Berkshire Section is a long east-west spur connecting the Thruway mainline to the Massachusetts Turnpike. The connector is enclosed within the Mainline's major closed ticket system, so traveling between the mainline and the Berlshire Spur via exit 21A does not involve crossing a toll barrier, and the connector's exits up to the end of the closed system past at exit B3 are listed with the mainline exits on tickets for the major closed system.

The Berkshire Section begins at exit 21A off the Mainline Thruway in Selkirkmarker, south of Albanymarker and proceeds east over the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge over the Hudson River navigating through the southern Rensselaer County. The first Exit on the Berkshire Spur is Exit 1 in Schodackmarker where Interstate 90 joins the Berkshire Section, following the spur east into Columbia Countymarker.

The Rensselaer County segment which runs east-west, the Berkshire Section in Columbia County takes on a northwest-southeast alignment as the roadway heads towards Exit B2 in East Chathammarker which is the northern terminus of the Taconic State Parkway. Two miles to the southeast is the Canaanmarker toll barrier, which is the end of the Thruway ticket system. The last exit on the Berkshire Section is Exit B3 New York State Route 22 near the Massachusetts state line, where the Thruway connects to the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Cross-Westchester Expressway

In 1990, the State Legislature directed the Authority to purchase the Cross-Westchester Expressway (Interstate 287) from the State, as a toll-free component of the Thruway system for $20 million. The Cross-Westchester begins at Interstate 87 Exit 8 in Elmsfordmarker, where I-287 splits from the Thruway mainline, and travels east across Westchester Countymarker to Interstate 95, with connections to both the New England Thruway & Connecticut Turnpike at exit 12 in Ryemarker.

Garden State Parkway Connector

The Garden State Parkway Connector is a long road that connects the Thruway with the Garden State Parkway at the New Jerseymarker state line at Pearl River via interchange 14A. The final , south of the Schoolhouse Road — Chestnut Ridge exit, is the only part of the Thruway system that prohibits commercial vehicles as the Garden State Parkway prohibits commercial traffic north of exit 105. Although the connector itself is toll free, the Garden State Parkway in New Jerseymarker is toll road.

A New York State Thruway toll ticket, obtained at exit 25A.


Interstate 84

Similar to I-287, in 1991, the Authority was directed to assume the cost of operating and maintaining a segment of Interstate 84, which runs East-West from the Pennsylvania State Line at Port Jervis to the Connecticut State line at Brewster at an annual expense of approximately $14 million. Only one portion of I-84 in New Yorkmarker, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge connecting Newburghmarker and Beaconmarker, carries a toll. However, the bridge is operated and maintained by the New York State Bridge Authority, which collects all revenue from tolls on the structure.

As of 2009, there is now a direct connection between the Thruway mainline and Interstate 84. Improvements have brought both interchanges individually up to freeway standards, although at a loss to local traffic. The connection allows cars to travel between I-87 and both I-84 and NY-300 (via a split in the ramp). I-84 and NY-300 have their own interchange now.

At its October 2006 meeting, the Authority Board approved an action related to the elimination of the toll barriers at Black Rock and City Line in Buffalomarker. After accounting for the cost of toll collection, these barriers were expected to generate approximate $14.1 million. To allow for cessation of toll collections at these locations, the Authority accepted $14.1 million from the State Senate to replace the expected toll revenue for one year. The Board action also authorized providing one-year notice of the return of operational responsibilities of Interstate 84 to the NYSDOTmarker as provided for in the Authority's agreement with the same. The return was the only option available to the Board that did not require legislation and was revenue neutral. The Grand Islandmarker Bridge tolls on I-190 remain intact.

New England Thruway

The New England Thruway (NET) is a section of Interstate 95 under the operation and maintenance of the New York State Thruway Authority. The New England Thruway begins at the Pelham Parkway interchange (Exit 8) in the Co-Op Citymarker section of the Bronxmarker; continuing into Westchester Countymarker to the Connecticutmarker state line where the New England Thruway connects to the Connecticut Turnpike.

Tolls are collected Northbound-only on the New England Thruway. A $1.75 cash toll (discounted to $1.66 with EZPass) is collected at the New Rochelle toll barrier, the only toll plaza on the New England Thruway.

Niagara Section

The first of Interstate 190 from I-90 in Buffalomarker to New York State Route 384 in Niagara Fallsmarker is known as the Niagara Section and is maintained by the Thruway Authority. North of NY 384, the expressway is named the Niagara Expressway and is maintained by the NYSDOT.

History

A toll superhighway connecting the major cities of New York State which would become part of a larger nationwide highway network was first proposed in 1949. The following year, the New York State Legislature passed the Thruway Authority Act creating the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), an independent public corporation, which would build and manage the turnpike. The project was to be financed through toll revenue bonds and self-liquidating by receipt of tolls, rents, concessions, and other income. The act also stipulated NYSTA adopt a hybrid system of tolls, with barrier tolls collected in urban areas, and long-distance tickets issued in rural areas.

The Thruway opened in sections in the early to mid 1950s. The first toll section, between Lowell and Rochestermarker, opened on June 24, 1954. The last section of the 426 mile (681 km) mainline between Buffalo and the Bronx was completed on August 31, 1956. The total cost was $600 million, financed by the sale of $972 million in bonds. At the time, it was the longest toll road in the world.

The highway was unique in that original signage utilized dark blue backgrounds, the same color blue as displayed on the New York State flag. Over time, these signs were replaced with the FHWA-approved green backgrounds, as further described in the article Traffic sign.

After the New Jersey Turnpike was built in 1952, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New York State Thruway proposed a extension of the New Jersey Turnpike (now known as Interstate 95) that would go from its end (at U.S. Route 46 in Ridgefield Park, NJmarker at the time) up to West Nyackmarker at the New York Thruway (Interstate 87). The portion through New Jersey was to be constructed and maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, while the portion in New York was to be built and maintained by the New York Thruway Authority.The purpose of this extension was to give motorists a “more direct bypass of the New York City area” to New England, by using the Tappan Zee Bridgemarker. The extension was to parallel NY Route 303 and a CSX (Conrail) River Line, and have limited interchanges. It was to have an interchange with the Palisades Interstate Parkway and at Interstate 87/New York State Thruway in West Nyack.This project did not survive, though. By 1970, it became too expensive to buy right-of-way access, and community opposition was fierce. Therefore, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New York State Thruway Authority cancelled the project.

The ticket system originally began at the Spring Valleymarker toll barrier but was later moved to exit 16 to make it possible to build simple toll-free interchanges in the stretch between the two. The toll plaza at Suffern was dismantled along with this change. The Spring Valley toll barrier remains today as a westbound-only commercial traffic toll.

Example of all-metric signage near Syracuse during the late 1970s.
In 1957, the mainline was extended 70 mi (112 km) west from Buffalo along Lake Eriemarker to the Pennsylvaniamarker border. From 1957 to 1960, several spurs of the road were built to connect the road to turnpikes in the neighboring states of Connecticutmarker and Massachusettsmarker. In 1958, sections of the Thruway were given the current designations as part of the Interstate Highway System.

In 1964, the New York State Legislature officially renamed the Thruway in honor of former governor Thomas E. Dewey. The official designation is, however, rarely used in reference to the road.

In the late 1970s, the NYSTA experimented with all-metric signage in the Syracusemarker area. This experiment included all metric signing for Exits 35 and 36 and a couple of "Speed Limit 88 km/h" signs. Local folklore suggests this stretch of the Thruway was chosen for the experiment because of strong political opposition in the area to the metric conversion plans.

In August 1993, the NYSTA became the first agency to implement the E-ZPass electronic toll collection system. By December 1996 it was implemented at all toll barriers on the Thruway.

In 1997, the construction bond used to build the Thruway had been paid off, and all tolls along the Thruway were supposed to be abolished. However, the New York State Legislature voted to maintain the tolls. This action has engendered regional hostility within the state, particularly from the upstate counties which see the maintenance of the toll as a regional-based tax and that the tolls help maintain the economic disparity between the poor, rural upstate and the rich, urban downstate.

In 2006, the Thruway Authority voted to end tolls on a six mile (10 km) section of the I-190 portion of the Thruway at the urging of many Buffalo area politicians. Both major candidates in the 2006 gubernatorial election, Democrat and eventual victor Eliot Spitzer and Republican John Faso, vowed to eliminate the tolls if elected. Tolls remain on the Thruway mainline, as well as on the North and Southmarker Grand Islandmarker Bridges connecting I-190 with the island.

On March 1, 2007, the Thruway Authority announced that wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) would be available at all service areas along the Thruway. Signage for the 27 service areas was updated to reflect this new feature.

Exit list

Mainline

County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
Westchestermarker Yonkersmarker 0.00 South end of Thruway New York City Line (Major Deegan Expressway)
0.48 1 Hall Place, McLean Avenue
1.42 2 Yonkers Avenue - Yonkers Racewaymarker Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.77 3 Mile Square Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
2.18 4
2.70 5 Northbound exit and southbound entrance
4.00 6 Tuckahoe Road - Bronxvillemarker, Yonkersmarker Signed as exits 6E (east) and 6W (west) southbound
5.14 6A Stew Leonard Drive
5.47 Yonkers toll barrier- $1.50 toll in both directions
Dobbs Ferrymarker 7.84 7 Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Greenburghmarker 10.33 7A Northbound exit only
10.33 7A Southbound exit and northbound entrance
11.31 8A Northbound exit is part of exit 8
8
South end of I-287 overlap
Tarrytownmarker 12.85 9
13.07 Tappan Zee Bridge toll barrier- $5.00 toll (southbound only)
Tappan Zee Bridgemarker over the Hudson River
Rocklandmarker South Nyackmarker
16.75 10 No southbound exit
Nyackmarker 17.42 11
Clarkstownmarker 18.76 12
20.94 13 ; New Jerseymarker Signed as exits 13N (north) and 13S (south)
22.80 14
Ramapomarker 23.53 14A - New Jerseymarker
24.31 Spring Valleymarker toll barrier (northbound commercial vehicles without EZ-Pass only)
27.62 14B Airmont Road (CR 89) – Airmontmarker, Montebellomarker
North end of I-287 overlap
30.17 15 - New Jerseymarker South end of NY 17 overlap
31.35 15A North end of NY 17 overlap
Orangemarker Woodbury 45.03 Woodbury toll barrier
45.20 16
Newburghmarker 60.10 17 , Middletownmarker, Stewart International Airportmarker
Ulstermarker New Paltzmarker 76.01 18 , Poughkeepsiemarker
Kingstonmarker 91.37 19
Saugertiesmarker 101.25 20
Greenemarker Catskillmarker 113.89 21
New Baltimoremarker 124.53 21B
Albany Coeymansmarker 133.60 21A - Bostonmarker
Bethlehemmarker 134.93 22
Albanymarker 141.92 23
148.15 24 , Montrealmarker
Guilderlandmarker 153.83 25
Schenectadymarker Rotterdammarker 158.82 25A
162.22 26
Montgomerymarker Amsterdammarker 173.59 27
Glenmarker 182.17 28
Canajoharie 194.10 29
Herkimermarker Danubemarker 210.62 29A
Herkimermarker 219.70 30
Oneidamarker Uticamarker 232.85 31
Westmoreland 243.37 32
Veronamarker 252.71 33
Madisonmarker Lenoxmarker 261.5 34
Onondagamarker Dewittmarker 276.58 34A
East Syracusemarker 278.93 35
Mattydalemarker 282.93 36
Salinamarker 283.79 37 Electronics Parkway - Liverpoolmarker, Syracusemarker
285.95 38
Van Burenmarker, Geddesmarker 289.53 39
Cayugamarker Brutusmarker 304.19 40
Senecamarker Tyremarker 320.41 41
Ontariomarker Phelps 327.10 42
Manchester 340.15 43
Farmingtonmarker 347.13 44
Victor 350.99 45
Monroemarker Henriettamarker 362.44 46
Geneseemarker Bergenmarker 378.56 47
Bataviamarker 390.13 48
Pembrokemarker 401.72 48A
Eriemarker Cheektowagamarker 417.27 49
Williamsvillemarker 419.69 Williamsville toll barrier
420.34 50
Cheektowagamarker 420.70 50A Cleveland Drive Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
421.57 51 Signed as exits 51W (west) and 51E (east)
423.19 52 Walden Avenue (NY 952Q) - Buffalomarker, Cheektowagamarker Signed as exits 52W (west) and 52E (east)
424.92 52A William Street
426.17 53 , Canadamarker, Niagara Fallsmarker
West Senecamarker 427.94 54
429.47 55
430.51 Lackawanna toll barrier
Lackawannamarker 432.45 56
Hamburg 436.22 57
Evansmarker 444.87 57A Edenmarker, Angolamarker
Chautauquamarker Hanovermarker 455.54 58
Dunkirkmarker 467.74 59
Westfield 485.00 60
Ripleymarker 494.51 Ripley toll barrier
494.92 61 Shortman Road (NY 950D) - Ripleymarker
496.00 West end of Thruway


Berkshire Connector

County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
Albany Coeymansmarker 0.00 Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge over the Hudson River
Rensselaer Schodackmarker
6.58 B1 West end of I-90 overlap
Columbiamarker Chathammarker 15.09 B2
Canaanmarker 17.83 Canaan toll barrier
23.27 B3
24.28 Massachusettsmarker state line.
Berkshire Connector continues east as the Massachusetts Turnpike.




Cross-Westchester Expressway

See Cross Westchester Expresswaymarker.

Garden State Parkway Connector

County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
Rocklandmarker Spring Valleymarker 0.00 - Albanymarker, New York Citymarker
2.09 CR 41, Schoolhouse Road - Chestnut Ridgemarker Southbound: exit only. Northbound: entrance only.
2.40 New Jerseymarker state line.
GSP Connector continues south as the
Garden State Parkway.


Interstate 84

See Interstate 84.

New England Thruway

See New England Thruway.

Niagara Thruway

See Interstate 190.

References

  1. NYSTA Press Release on Buffalo tolls
  2. NYSTA Toll Barriers
  3. "Tappan Zee Car Toll To Rise to $3 in July", The New York Times January 28, 1997
  4. Thruway Authority announces Wi-Fi Availability at Travel Plazas


External links




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