New York Thruway Plazas Revamped With Truck Drivers in Mind

Four Service Areas to Feature Expanded Amenities for Commercial Drivers
Artist rendering of a commercial driver lounge
Added features for truckers at four of the service areas include a separate entrance, lounge, showers, lockers, restrooms and washers/dryers. (Artist rendering via New York State Thruway Authority)

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Trying to make life on the road easier for truckers is part of the New York State Thruway Authority’s ongoing $450 million project to modernize its aging 27 service areas through 2025.

“The Thruway is a vital means of transportation for goods by the commercial trucking industry. Commercial drivers depend on the Thruway’s service areas for fuel, food and to have a safe place to stop and rest,” said Jessica Mazurowski, spokesperson for the New York State Thruway Authority.

A 570-mile superhighway crossing New York state, the Thruway is one of the longest toll superhighway systems in the nation, connecting its two largest cities of New York City and Buffalo.

In 2022, there were 61.7 million commercial trips on the Thruway, Mazurowski noted.

The Thruway, whose link from New York to the Pennsylvania line is 496 miles long, includes Interstate 87 (New York City to Albany), I-95 (New York City to Connecticut), I-287 (connecting I-87 with I-95), I-90 (both the Berkshire Spur linking I-87 with the Massachusetts Turnpike and the mainline running from Albany to the Pennsylvania border) and I-190 (joining Buffalo to Niagara Falls).

Amenities at New York service areas

Built in the 1950s, the service areas last saw any significant change in the 1990s prior to the extensive renovation project that got into gear in 2021.

“As an additional amenity at the new service areas, we’re providing traffic cameras at each site aimed at the commercial truck parking area so commercial drivers can see in real time available parking spaces. The traffic cameras are available to view on the Thruway Authority’s website on the Traveler Map,” Mazurowski said.

When Matthew Driscoll, then NYS Thruway executive director, kicked off the ambitious plan in July 2021, he promised a new travel experience for drivers. “This expansive project will modernize the buildings and amenities, provide diverse and healthy food options with new restaurants and Taste NY products and enhance the amenities for the commercial trucking industry. This is an exciting era for the Thruway Authority and we can’t wait for our customers to experience these new modern facilities,” Driscoll proclaimed.

Rendering of diesel filling area at a New York State Thruway service plaza

A rendering of diesel filling area at a service area. (New York State Thruway Authority)

Redevelopment plans included unveiling expanded “new food concepts” with restaurant choices, healthy meals/snacks and Applegreen convenience stores.

Three revamped service areas along I-90 opened in 2022: the Junius Ponds in Phelps, Indian Castle in Danube and Chittenango in Canastota. They feature varying combinations of eateries (Shake Shack, Starbucks and Applegreen Market Store) with local Taste NY food and drinks and other features such as outdoor seating, a farm market space, a dog walking place and food truck area.

The Chittenango service plaza on the New York State Thruway

The revamped Chittenango service plaza on I-90 of the New York State Thruway opened in 2022. (New York State Thruway Authority)

So far in 2023, three more service areas have opened: at Plattekill at I-87 and two more along I-90 at Clifton Springs and the Iroquois in Little Falls. These will also have other varying food options such as Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Auntie Anne’s or Panera Bread.

Fuel services for commercial and passenger vehicles remain available at all locations during construction.

Jessica Mazurowski


“Commercial parking may be increased at the new service areas where it’s feasible,” Mazurowski said.

By the end of this year, six areas are expected to open along I-90 (Clarence, the Oneida in Westmoreland, Port Byron, Pembroke in Corfu, Seneca in Victor and Schuyler in Frankfort) and two on I-87 (Ardsley in Hastings-on-Hudson and New Baltimore in Hannacroix).

“As part of the project, Empire State Thruway Partners/Applegreen designated four service areas to have expanded amenities for commercial drivers. The Clarence, Pembroke, Ulster [I-87 in Ruby] and Pattersonville service areas will include these amenities for drivers,” Mazurowski noted.

The added features for truckers at the four service areas are a separate entrance, lounge, showers, lockers, restrooms and washers/dryers. The Clarence and Pembroke service areas are to open at the end of June, followed by Patterson in the fall and Ulster in mid-2024.

“The additional amenities at the four service areas designated for commercial drivers will provide services many drivers have expressed interest in,” Mazurowski added. “You can view all of their locations and projected opening dates on the project map. Additionally, as new service areas open, others will close for construction.”

Pembroke service plaza, under construction

An image of Pembroke service plaza in Corfu, under construction. It is due to open at the end of June. It is one of four service areas designated as having expanded amenities for commercial drivers. (New York State Thruway Authority)

Other planned additions for the service areas include digital tourism kiosks and pairs of Level 3 fast electric vehicle chargers.

To help guide its redevelopment, the Thruway conducted a motorist survey in 2018 that was completed by 2,645 participants comprised of commercial drivers, commuters, occasional users, leisure travelers and others. Ninety-five percent of truckers provided feedback about a truck parking shortage, with 74% saying a lack of parking caused personal stress, leading to conditions such as lost sleep, anxiety and lost hours of work.

Their primary feedback to Thruway officials was to obtain more truck parking (80%), access to showers (52%), the ability to park for 8-12 hours (47%), access to a truckers’ lounge (37%), acceptance of fleet cards for fuel purchases (24%), more lighting (22%), greater security (18%) and self-service laundry facilities (15%). Most truckers who responded (59%) spent over 200 days driving on New York’s highways and the Thruway during the prior year.

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