The state Thruway Authority is on track for the first overhaul of its 27 rest areas in nearly 30 years.

The Authority Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a $450 million investment plan to rebuild 23 of the 27 services areas and upgrade the remaining four.

Genesee County has two rest areas: The Ontario Service Plaza near Le Roy and one in Pembroke.

The board chose a plan submitted by Empire State Thruway Partners. The group is led by Jon Laing Group, an investment firm that will operate the rest stops for 33 years.

“The Thruway is a vital connector for interstate commerce and its service areas provide motorists with essential travel amenities that allow them to reach their destinations safely,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “The upgrades planned with this redevelopment project include innovative, modern initiatives to improve the customer experience for the tens of thousands of travelers who use the service areas every day.”

The contract with Empire State Thruway Partners includes a 33-year term, with two phases of construction. Phase one includes 16 service areas with staged reconstruction expected to begin in 2021. Phase two includes 11 service areas with renovations expected to begin in January 2023. To ensure continuity of services to Thruway customers during construction, no two consecutive service areas in the same direction of travel will be closed for renovations at the same time.

The plan:

Most buildings will be configured to provide entrances from both the parking lot and fuel station facilities.

Additional amenities include:

n Exterior seating with access to Taste NY farm markets, picnic areas, play areas, and pet walking areas with comfort stations.

n Business centers available at designated service areas

n Technology-forward building maintenance systems to monitor facilities, alert maintenance to issues and schedule predictive maintenance.

n Enhanced services such as call ahead ordering, kiosks and drive-thru service at most locations.

n Taste NY and I Love NY commitment showcasing Taste NY products. The proposal includes a tenant plan featuring a variety of options for travelers, expanded hours of operation and multiple food concepts, and various seating options for travelers.

n Virtual Welcome and Tourism Centers, Virtual Thruway assistant and Travel Counselors.

n Food trucks and other seasonal offerings.

n Enclosed climate controlled pet areas.

n Private area for nursing mothers.

Environmental Initiatives:

n Solar arrays integrated into roofing systems and parking areas.

n Rainwater harvesting, retention ponds, irrigation free landscaping and use of non-invasive landscaping that is drought resistant and requires low maintenance.

n Reduced light pollution and glare through building materials, design and light fixture selection and placement.

n Vehicle charging stations.

Commercial Trucking Industry:

n Increase truck parking at service areas system-wide by 150 parking spaces.

n Amenities such as shower and laundry facilities, fitness center, and healthy snacks.

The $450 billion contract still has to be approved by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Letitia James.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1