AskDefine | Define Thruway

Dictionary Definition

thruway n : a broad highway designed for high-speed traffic [syn: expressway, freeway, motorway, pike, state highway, superhighway, throughway]

Extensive Definition

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 York. 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 Pennsylvania/New York State border in the west to Albany in the east, and the New York City 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).
Only three sections of the Thruway system are not part of the Interstate Highway System. One such section is the Garden State Parkway Connector, which branches from the Thruway mainline at exit 14A in Spring Valley to connect to the Garden State Parkway at the New Jersey state line near Montvale. Another section is located on the Thruway mainline within exit 24 in Albany, as the mainline is unnumbered for a brief distance between the point where Interstate 87 departs the roadway and Interstate 90 enters it. The third section, the longest such section on the Thruway, is a six-mile portion of the Berkshire Connector, which has no Interstate designation between exit 21A on the Mainline in Selkirk and exit B1 in Schodack, where the Berkshire Connector merges with I-90.
Of the 641.29 miles 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 365.55 miles along the Thruway, including 17.70 miles as part of the Berkshire Connector and 347.85 miles on the mainline. Interstate 87 comprises the remaining 148.15 miles of the mainline, including an 18.86 mile long concurrency with Interstate 287 north of New York City. Interstate 84 covers another 71.46 miles, including the New York State Bridge Authority-maintained Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, while Interstate 287 spans 29.76 miles (including the 18.86 miles shared with I-87), Interstate 190 lasts for 21.24 miles and Interstate 95 covers 15.01 miles.
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 Buffalo. 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 NYSDOT 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 Island Bridge tolls on I-190 remain intact.

New England Thruway

The New England Thruway (NET) is a 15.01 mile long segment of Interstate 95 under the operation and maintenance of the Thruway Authority. The Thruway begins at the end of the Bruckner Expressway at Pelham Parkway (exit 8) and continues along I-95 to the Connecticut state line, where I-95 becomes the Connecticut Turnpike.
Between the The Bronx and New Rochelle, the Thruway is toll-free. At New Rochelle, a $1.50 cash toll (discounted to $1.13 with EZPass) is collected by way of a northbound-only toll barrier, the only such structure on the NET. No toll exists on the entirety of I-95 southbound.

Niagara Thruway

The first 21.24 miles of Interstate 190 from I-90 in Buffalo to New York State Route 384 in Niagara Falls is known as the Niagara Thruway and is maintained by the Thruway Authority. North of NY 384, the expressway is named the Niagara Expressway and is maintained by the NYSDOT.


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 Rochester, 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 ticket system originally began at the Spring Valley 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.
In 1957, the mainline was extended 70 mi (112 km) west from Buffalo along Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania border. From 1957 to 1960, several spurs of the road were built to connect the road to turnpikes in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts. 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 Syracuse 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 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 496 mile Thruway mainline, as well as on the North and South Grand Island 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


Berkshire Connector

Cross-Westchester Expressway

See Cross Westchester Expressway.

Garden State Parkway Connector

Interstate 84

See Interstate 84.

New England Thruway

See New England Thruway.

Niagara Thruway

See Interstate 190.


Thruway in Japanese: ニューヨーク・ステート・スルーウェイ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Autobahn, US highway, alley, alleyway, arterial, arterial highway, arterial street, artery, autoroute, autostrada, avenue, belt highway, blind alley, boulevard, bypass, byway, camino real, carriageway, causeway, causey, chaussee, circumferential, close, corduroy road, county road, court, crescent, cul-de-sac, dead-end street, dike, dirt road, drive, driveway, expressway, freeway, gravel road, highroad, highway, highways and byways, interstate highway, lane, local road, main drag, main road, mews, motorway, parkway, pave, paved road, pike, place, plank road, primary highway, private road, right-of-way, ring road, road, roadbed, roadway, route nationale, row, royal road, secondary road, speedway, state highway, street, superhighway, terrace, thoroughfare, through street, toll road, township road, turnpike, wynd
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