ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR) — Scheduled renovations and temporary closures mean it may take you a little longer to find a service area on the New York State Thruway starting at the end of July.

The New York State Thruway Authority announced Wednesday that construction will start July 29 on the $450 million projects to modernize all 27 thruway service areas. While the renovations will bring new popular restaurants, like Chick-fil-A and Shake Shack, and even a Taste NY farm market, not everyone is happy about the fast-approaching construction.

“You’re going to make it more inconvenient for people who use it the most,” said truck driver Jay Poquadeck. He added that service areas are like safe havens to truck drivers, not only are they a place to use the bathroom and grab a bite to eat, but they are often places where truck drivers sleep and make sure their cargo is safe and intact.

He believes by closing 10 rest stops at once it will cause the remaining opened ones to be crowded and unsafe. “That’s a lot of problems that you’re going to have you’re going to have pollution, you’re going to have liter, you’re going to have people doing things they shouldn’t be doing on the side of the road so it’s not safe, if they’re going to do it they’re going to have to do it quickly,” Poquadeck said.

This concern is echoed by new truck driver Luis Serrano. He said he’s worried about not finding a parking spot at the service areas to park his big rig, especially during bad weather.

A spokesperson from the Thruway Authority says that the trucking industry is one of the main beneficiaries of the entire project, adding:

“All truck parking will remain during construction. No two consecutive service areas in the same direction will be closed at the same time meaning the nearest service area is approximately 20 to 30 miles away. In addition, once complete, truckers will enjoy benefits at select service areas such as showers, laundry, fitness center and private entrance.”

Jonathan Dougherty
Deputy Director of Media Relations & Communications

Either way, for everyday travelers like Alice McGinnis, inconvenience is the price you pay for progress. She says she’s looking forward to the changes.

McGinnis said she’s also looking forward to having healthier food options as the plan incorporates Taste NY farm markets at select locations. “When they’re finished, it will be really nice, and we probably would be more likely to plan on having meals here. Because we usually just try to just get snacks and keep going, so if there are healthier options and things that we would prefer to eat, then I could see where we would be stopping more and using them,” she said.

For now, travelers are hoping the bumps in the road are worth the wait.