The $450 million renovation project on the New York State Thruway has taken a big step forward with the completion of another rest stop.

It may surprise local drivers to learn that rest stops like the ones on the Thruway in New York are not as common in other states. While the idea of having easily accessible food options, rest rooms, and gas stations on major roadways feels obvious, the Empire State still seems to be a leader in driver convenience. Especially with the new renovations.

The latest New York State Thruway rest area has reopened in Onondaga County
The latest New York State Thruway rest area has reopened in Onondaga County (NYSTA)
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Warners Service Area Completed in Onondaga County, NY

Warners Service Area in Onondaga County is the latest rest stop to be unveiled on the Thruway. Inside the shiny new building, New York's newest Chik-fil-A, Burger King, and Starbucks are now officially welcoming drivers (below). The rest stop also includes fuel, electric charging stations, a dog walking area, and more. But who's paying for this massive project?

The new Warners Service Area in Onondaga County, NY offers travelers Burger King, Starbucks, and Chik-fil-A as options
The new Warners Service Area in Onondaga County, NY offers travelers Burger King, Starbucks, and Chik-fil-A as options (NYSTA)
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Who's Paying for the $450 Million New York Thruway Rest Area Renovations?

The scope of the renovations, as well as the budget, is large. The New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), however, has been clear that none of the $450 million needed for the the redesign has come from New York taxpayers or collected tolls, but rather a "public-private partnership". Here's what it means.

The new rest areas on the New York State Thruway are funded by a public-private partnership with an investment group
The new rest areas on the New York State Thruway are funded by a public-private partnership with an investment group (NYSTA)
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Public-Private Partnership with Empire State Thruway Partners

The rest area construction is being funded by Empire State Thruway Partners, the group behind the winning proposal the NYSTA selected for the project in 2018. In addition to footing the bill, the group has secured a 33-year lease of the rest areas, which will last until 2054.

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The rest stop in Onondaga County joins the growing list of completed Thruway projects. In the Hudson Valley, the Plattekill rest area is now open, hosting Panera and Auntie Ann's as well as Chik-fil-A, Burger King, and a Starbucks drive-thru. Speaking of rest stops, take a look at how they looked in the 1950s below.

What New York State Thruway Rest Stops Looked Like in the 1950s

According to the Thruway Authority, the very first rest stops were erected in the mid-1950s offering travelers cafeteria-style food, coffee, and snacks. Today, these rest stops are going through their second major remodel which will bring new restaurants and amenities for Thruway travelers. According to these old images from the Thruway Authority, our local rest stops have come a long way in seventy years.

Gallery Credit: Boris

Road Trip Through New York's Ice Cream Trail

Did you know there's an ice cream trail here in the great state of New York? Yup. Created by Only In Your State, the trail takes you all throughout the Adirondacks, allowing you to "take in the sights of our tallest mountains and some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of New York" while licking your favorite kind of ice cream.

Hop aboard the New York Ice Cream Trail!

Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler