Thruway History

The New York State Thruway: 1981-1990


The following is from a brochure entitled "Thruway Chronology", which was available at the Thruway exhibit at the 2002 State Fair.

January 1, 1981 Vehicle miles totaled 4,246,148,096 in 1980. Total revenue for 1980 was $161,187,855, up 9.84 per cent from 1979. The 1980 fatality rate was 1.08 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
October 1, 1981 The Chefs, a special unit of Sky Chefs, which is an American Airlines subsidiary, and Howard Johnson's began operation of restaurants. The Chefs operate nine food service units from Sloatsburg, 33 miles north New York City, to Mohawk, just east of Amsterdam. Howard Johnson's operates 14 units from Indian Castle, near Utica, to Clarence, just east of Buffalo. Interstate United continued to operate the Angola Service Area restaurant.
November 10, 1981 Herkimer Maintenance Section won the best section award.
January 1, 1982 Total revenue in 1981 was $183,289,532, up 13.71 per cent from 1980. Vehicle miles totaled 4,297,758,406. The 1981 fatality rate was 1.02 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
May 17, 1982 A new fast-food-type restaurant, a first of its kind on the Thruway, was opened at the Ramapo Service Area by The Chefs. It was the first new restaurant to be built on the Thruway in 23 years.
May 28, 1982 Interchange 25A, which connects I-88 with the Thruway near Schenectady, opened.
July 19, 1982 An agreement under which the Thruway will receive federal highway assistance funds of over $500 million between 1984 and 1986 was signed.
November 4, 1982 Verona Maintenance Section won the best section award.
December 22, 1982 Charles T. Lanigan, Scarborough, was re-appointed to the Thruway Board by Governor Carey. Lanigan is Treasurer of the Authority.
January 1, 1983 Vehicle miles totaled 4,410,231,380 in 1982. Total revenue for 1982 was $184,314,362, up 0.56 per cent from 1981. The 1982 fatality rate was 1.07 per million vehicle miles traveled.
November 14, 1983 Weedsport Maintenance Section won the best section award.
December 1, 1983 Mobil Oil Corporation was awarded a contract to operate six service stations and Sun Refining and Marketing Company (Sunoco) was awarded a contract to operate 13 service stations on the Thruway from Albany west to the Pennsylvania State Line. Both contracts are effective January 1, 1984.
December 29, 1983 Mobil Oil Corporation was awarded a contract to operate six service stations and Sun Refining and Marketing Company (Sunoco) was awarded a contract to operate three service stations on the Thruway from Albany south to New York City. Both contracts are effective January 1, 1984.
January 1, 1984  Total revenue in 1983 was $190,0898,283, up 3.13 per cent from 1982. Vehicle miles totaled 4,658,176,318. The 1983 fatality rate was 0.79 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
January 6, 1984 The fatality rate for 1983 was 0.80, the lowest rate in the Thruway's history.
January 24, 1984 Governor Mario M. Cuomo swore in Henry A. Bersani of Syracuse as Chairman of the Thruway Authority for a nine-year term.
March 22, 1984 Alexendar A. Levine of Albany was appointed Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the Authority.
April 7, 1984 Miles traveled on the Thruway surpassed the landmark of 100 billion.
July 1, 1984 Self-service gas pumps became available at all Thruway service stations.
July 10, 1984 The Thruway Authority Board presented heroism awards to Army Sgt. David R. Fletcher of Utica, Army Sgt. Christopher H. Day of Ilion, and J. David Mackenzie of Rochester for their rescue attempts in October 1983 of the occupant of a burning vehicle on the Thruway.
July 17, 1984 Grand opening of the Howard Johnson Corporation-operated Burger King restaurant at the Iroquois Service Area.
November 15, 1984 Newburgh Maintenance Section won the best section award.
January 1, 1985 Vehicle miles totaled 4,968,081,760 in 1984.
January 9, 1985 For the second consecutive year, the Thruway announced a record low fatality rate. The rate was 0.70 per 100 million miles traveled. Total revenue for 1984 was $205,028,245, up 7.86 per cent from 1983. The 1984 fatality rate was 0.70 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the lowest fatality rate in the Thruway's 31-year history.
May 1, 1985 The Thruway Authority Board approved one-way toll collection on the Niagara Section of the Thruway. The changeover was scheduled for June 17 at the Black Rock Barrier and July 3 at the City Line Barrier.
May 21, 1985 A new Howard-Johnson Corporation operated Burger King restaurant at the Seneca Service Area opened.
May 23, 1985 A new Howard-Johnson Corporation operated Burger King restaurant at the Scottsville Service Area opened.
May 24, 1985 A new Howard-Johnson Corporation operated Burger King restaurant at the Clarence Service Area opened.
June 30, 1985 The Thruway Authority Board created a Department of Internal Audit.
July 24, 1985 Governor Mario M. Cuomo announced the signing of a bill to create a new Thruway interchange in the town of Tuxedo, Orange County.
November 20, 1985 Weedsport Maintenance Section won the Best Section award.
January 1, 1986 Vehicle miles total 5,143,142,37.1 in 1985. Total revenue was $212,820,336, up 3.80 per cent from 1985.
January 6, 1986 The Thruway's fatality rate of 1.01 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was announced. It was the seventh lowest rate since the Thruway opened in 1954.
July 8, 1986 A grand opening ceremony was held for the first McDonald's restaurant on the Thruway, located at the Angola Service Area. A Denny's restaurant was also officially opened at Angola.
July 21, 1985 The Thruway Authority issued a permit to New York Telephone Co. to use the Thruway's right-of-way for installation of a fiber-optic cable between Albany and Schenectady.
November 10, 1985 Westfield Maintenance Section won the best section award.
December 2, 1985 A toll-free "800" telephone number was established to provide recorded reports of Thruway road conditiobns to callers within New York State.
January 1, 1987 Vehicle miles totaled 5,484,118 in 1986. Total revenue was $220,684,664, up 3.70 per cent from 1986. The fatality rate was .89 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
February 17, 1987 A toll-free "800" telephone number was established to provide recorded Thruway road condition reports to callers from out-of-state and Canada.
April 5, 1987 The Thruway bridge over the Schoharie Creek collapsed. The bridge was located between Interchanges 27 (Amsterdam) and 28 (Fultonville/Fonda).
June 2, 1987 Henry A. Bersani resigned as Chairman of the Thruway Authority. Mr. Bersani served since 1984.
June 29, 1987 A new detour utilizing existing bridges over the Schoharie Creek was opened to Thruway bridges.
July 7, 1987 The Senate confirmed William C. Hennessy as Chairman of the Thruway Authority. Genevieve M. Starosciak was confirmed as Board member of the Authority.
September 4, 1987 A record 821,726 motorists traveled on the Thruway, the highest volume ever recorded on a single day.
September 26, 1987 John H. Shafer was appointed Deputy Executive Director of the Thruway Authority. Mr. Shafer joined the Authority as Special Assistant to the Executive Director in April. He formerly served as Assistant Commissioner and Chief Engineer at the New York State Department of Transportation.
November 1, 1987 A new State Fair Interchange 39 opened in Syracuse. The new interchange is located at milepost 289.53, approximately 1 mile west of the old Interchange 39.
November 1, 1987 Alexander A. Levine retired as Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer for the Authority. Mr. Levine served as Executive Director since 1984.
December 3, 1987 Batavia Maintenance Section won the best section award.
December 7, 1987 The southern portion of the new Thruway bridge over the Schoharie Creek was opened to eastbound traffic. Westbound traffic continued to use the bypass.
December 9, 1987 Westbound traffic was diverted from the bypass to the southern portion of the new bridge over the Schoharie Creek. Work continued on the northern portion of the new bridge.
December 16, 1987 John H. Shafer was appointed Executive Director and Chief Administrator Officer of the Thruway Authority.
January 1, 1988 Vehicle miles totaled 5,772,688,005 in 1987. Total revenue was $233,151,507, up 5.65 per cent from 1986. The fatality rate was 1.09 per 100 million miles traveled.
February 1, 1988 Charles T. Lanigan retired as Treasurer of the Thruway Authority Board, after serving 15 years.
February 18, 1988 The Authority announced the start of a $30 million rock cut remediation program, one of the most comprehensive efforts of its type in the country.
April 17, 1988 Passenger car tolls were increased an average of 33 per cent and commercial vehicle tools were increased an average of 38 percent. It was the first toll increase since 1980 and designed to fund the Thruway's $1.7 billion reconstruction effort.
May 21, 1988 The northern portion of the new Schoharie Creek bridge was completed. Westbound traffic was routed from the southern portion to the northern portion
June 18, 1988 U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan presented Authority Chairman William Hennessy with a symbolic check for $20 million in Federal Highway Emergency Relief Funds in connection with the 1987 collapse of the Thruway bridge over the Schoharie Creek
July 1, 1988 A record single-day traffic volume of 845,953 vehicles traveling on the Thruway system was recorded.
August 4, 1988 Tandem toll collection was initiated at several busy Thruway interchanges to help improve traffic flow during peak periods.
August 23, 1988 The Thruway achieved a 90 percent seat belt use rate, the highest in the country, between Woodbury and Canajoharie on "Safety Day", part of the Thruway Authority's "Buckle Up" campaign conducted in conjunction with the New York State Police and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
November 3, 1988 Batavia Maintenance Section won the best section award for the second straight year.
December 20, 1988 The Authority Board established two separate departments, the Department of Maintenance Engineering and the Department of Engineering Services.
December 22, 1988 Robert C. Donnaruma was appointed Chief Engineer of the Department of Maintenance Engineering and Anthony Gregory was appointed Chief Engineer of the Department of Engineering Services.
December 31, 1988 William C. Hennessy retired as Chairman of the Authority. Genevieve M. Starosciak became Acting Chairman.
January 1, 1989 Vehicle miles total 6,052,747,412 in 1988. Total revenue was $293,543,481, up 25.90 percent from 1987. The fatality rate was 0.89 per 100 million miles traveled.
February 22, 1989 The Authority began one-way toll collection at the New Rochelle Barrier.
March 27, 1989 A new 13-lane toll plaza was opened at Albany Interchange 24 by the Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation as part of DOT's $58.8 million, six-year reconstruction of the Thruway/Northway/I-90 crossroads.
May 1, 1989 "Buckle Up" campaign became a permanent feature along the Thruway.
June 20, 1989 Installation of automatic toll ticket issuing machines at six locations was announced.
June 30, 1989 The Senate confirmed Peter F. Tufo as Chairman of the Authority. Anthony J. Colavita was confirmed as a member of the Authority board. Governor Cuomo appointed both men.
June 30, 1989 Record single-day traffic volume of 823,027 vehicles traveling on the Thruway system was recorded (since New Rochelle barrier traffic counted in one direction only).
November 2, 1989 Batavia Maintenance Section won the best section award for the third straight year.
January 1, 1990 Vehicle miles totaled 6,178,866,116 in 1989. Revenues totaled $319,133,854, up 8.72 percent over 1988. Fatality rate was 0.78 deaths per 100 million miles traveled (second safest year).
March 7, 1990 The Authority announced agreement with Marriott Corporation for 16 new service area facilities offering Sbarro's, Roy Rogers, Bob's Big Boy, Nathan's, Dunkin' Donuts, Popeye's, Mrs. Fields Cookies, The Country's Best Yogurt (TCBY), additional Burger King restaurants.
June 8, 1990 The Authority's thirteen-member Transition Advisory Council held their first meeting. Created by Legislature in 1989 to make recommendations on future of Thruway and Authoirty after scheduled retirement of bondable debt in 1996. Members appointed by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. Chaired by Laurence J. Kirwan.
September 19, 1990 Authority board voted to purchase Cross Westchester (I-287) from State of New York.
September 28, 1990 Buffalo Division Headquarters moved from Walden Ave. to 3901 Genesee St. (near airport), still in Cheektowaga.
October 10, 1990 Anthony J. Colavita of Eastchester resigned from Authority Board.
October 29, 1990 Work started at Chittenango, first of 28 new restaurant travel plazas (one of 13 being constructed by Marriott). Restrooms and vending machines available in temporary trailers during construction.
October 29, 1990 Kingston Maintenance Section won the best section award.
December 11, 1990 Thruway Authority Board held its first meeting in Buffalo.
December 14, 1990 Necklace lighting on Tappan Zee Bridge turned on; 72 mercury vapor lights strung along top cords of main span in conjunction with safety line for maintenance workers.