Governor Andrew M. Cuomo urged New York drivers using the state's roadways over the Memorial Day weekend to take caution and put safety first, as traffic is likely to be heavy across the state and region as a result of holiday travel.
"I encourage all New Yorkers on the road this weekend to make safety a part of their vacation plans," Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said. "Whether heading to friends or family, celebrating holiday events, shopping, visiting New York's beautiful parks and historic sites, or taking time to honor those who served our country, motorists should expect congestion and heavy traffic."
According to the Automobile Association of America, approximately 32.1 million people are expected to travel during the holiday weekend. Throughout last year's Memorial Day holiday travel period (Friday to Monday); more than 2.4 million vehicles traveled more than 80 million miles on the State Thruway.
Motorists and their families should know that all travel plazas along the State Thruway will be providing services for the Memorial Day weekend. For a complete listing of travel plazas along the Thruway, and services and amenities offered to motorists, please visit the Thruway Authority's website at www.thruway.ny.gov/travelplazas/index.html.
"The Memorial Day holiday period traditionally breeds increased traffic volumes on the Thruway as millions of motorists travel throughout the long weekend," Madison continued. "We remind motorists to drive safely, be aware of your surroundings, be free of distractions, and stay alert. If you need to take a rest and refreshment, enjoy eating and picnicking at one of the 27 travel plazas throughout the 570-mile roadway."
The Thruway Authority also reminded New Yorkers that "Buckle Up New York," a 14-day statewide campaign aimed to crack down on drivers and their passengers who do not wear seatbelts, will be in full swing throughout the holiday weekend.
New York State Police Troop T Commander Major Robert C. Meyers said "The State Police Troop T will be out in full force throughout the holiday weekend enforcing the 'Buckle Up New York' initiative. We remind all travelers to buckle up and properly secure children age four and under in a child safety seat. We encourage drivers to be patient on the roads, especially the 55 mph work zone areas."
Motorists are urged to sign up for E-ZPass to enjoy the most convenient way to pay tolls, reduce congestion, and reduce travel time. The Thruway Authority offers all types of discount plans. For additional information please go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/discount.html.
Drivers heading south on the Thruway with an E-ZPass will be able to take advantage of the Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes at the Woodbury Toll Barrier or the Spring Valley Toll Barrier. The highway speed E-ZPass lanes allow customers traveling at the 65 mile per hour speed limit to safely separate themselves from the toll plaza lanes while electronically paying their toll.
Should major delays occur, motorists will be advised through electronic Variable Message Signs along the roadway, TRANSalerts, and the Thruway's Highway Advisory Radio. The HAR stations broadcast traffic advisories, road conditions, weather reports and safety tips to travelers 24 hours a day.
TRANSalerts are free notices sent to subscribers automatically via email or text messaging, informing them of major unscheduled incidents that may affect their travel on the Thruway. Since the system's inception in August 2006, more than 10,356 subscribers have signed up to receive TRANSalert notifications. Motorists may subscribe to the TRANSalert service at the Thruway Authority's website at www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/.
Motorists may listen to traffic information by tuning their vehicle radios to the following HAR frequencies; New York City and Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor – 530 AM; Utica area – 540 AM; Newburgh, Kingston, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo areas – 1610 AM: Little Falls/Herkimer, Syracuse, Lafayette (I-81), Waterloo/Geneva – 1620 AM; Ripley – 98.7 FM. Motorists may also obtain current traffic information by going to www.thruway.ny.gov or www.511ny.org .
By using the Thruway Authority's interactive mapping interface on its website, motorists may also check on current, up-to-the-minute traffic incidents and access cameras along various sections of the Thruway system. There are currently 138 operating traffic cameras. Customers can access those cameras by visiting the Thruway Authority's website at www.thruway.ny.gov/webcams/ .