New upgrades are coming to stops along the New York State Thruway, including fitness centers, laundry facilities, and climate-controlled rooms for pets.

The New York State Thruway Authority Board approved the plan Tuesday that will bring these new developments (and much more) to all 27 service areas along the Thruway. According to a press release from the Board, the service areas were originally constructed in the 1950s and were most recently remodeled in the 1990s, over 20 years ago.

“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.”

Now, let's get to exactly what the Empire State Thruway Partners proposed and what you can ultimately expect to see in the reimagined service areas once they're finished.

New Building and Levels of Service 

The areas will soon include outside seating areas with access to Taste NY farm markets and areas to have a picnic, play or walk your pet. You'll be able to call ahead and order from vendors, with kiosks and drive-thru service at most locations. Business centers will be available at designated service areas, and all buildings will be equipped with technology-forward maintenance systems.

Taste NY and I Love NY Commitment

The remodeled service areas will also include virtual welcome and tourism centers, New York food trucks, and, yes, enclosed climate-controlled pet areas because there's really no excuse to leave your pet in an overly hot or overly cold vehicle. There will also be a private area for nursing mothers.

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Environmental Initiatives 

In order to promote sustainability, the redesigned service areas will incorporate solar arrays in roofing systems and parking areas, rainwater harvesting, retention ponds, and irrigation-free, non-invasive, drought-resistant, and low-maintenance landscaping. The buildings will also follow LEED Silver rating principles and reduce light pollution.

Commercial Trucking Industry

The remodel will increase truck parking at all service areas by 150 spaces, and provide truckers access to shower and laundry facilities, as well as fitness centers and healthy snacks.

Fancy, right?! But all of these amenities come at a price. According to the Board's press release, Empire State Thruway Partners submitted a $450 million investment plan for the project. This will allow rebuilding of 23 of the 27 service areas and the remaining four will be significantly renovated.

And while we can be excited about the changes coming to the New York State Thruway, don't expect them anytime soon. The renovations will come in two phases, with construction on the first 16 service areas starting in 2021. Phase two will begin in January 2023 for construction on the remaining 11 service areas. The Board ensures that no two consecutive service areas in the same direction will be closed at the same time to keep services available during construction.

There is no word yet on which service areas will be in which phase.

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