NY interstates get more message signs, cameras

If you run any of the interstates through New York, expect to have access to a lot more information about road conditions, congestion and problems caused by extreme weather, especially in the winter.

New York State’s Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority have deployed 143 electronic message boards and 125 more traffic cameras six interstates, the Thruway and highways in the Buffalo metropolitan area.

The new signs ought to get a workout in the next several days. Much of New York is expected to get between 8 and 18 inches of snow, Sunday and Monday. Some freezing rain is expected in parts of western Ne York and the Southern Tier.

New message boards have been added to New York interstates and the Thruway (NYS DOT photo)New message boards have been added to New York interstates and the Thruway (NYS DOT photo)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said the initiative is part of the state’s “proactive approach to managing traffic during heavy snowstorms, extreme weather, vehicular crashes and other events that impact travel.” A statement from the governor’s office said the additional message signs expand efforts to when announcing and updating snowstorm-related travel bans — especially for long-haul truck operators — as well as providing timely information to motorists already on the road.

In addition to the 25 new portable messaging boards installed on the Thruway, locations with new cameras and VMS units include:

  • Interstate 81
  • Interstate 84
  • Interstate 86
  • Interstate 87/Northway
  • Interstate 88
  • Interstate 490
  • Buffalo Metro Area highways

With the new equipment in place, there are now 1,150 NYSDOT cameras and more than 550 NYSDOT VMS boards connected to DOT’s 10 Transportation Management Centers and publicly accessible via 511NY.

“Severe weather events are happening with increasing frequency and these new electronic message signs and traffic cameras will give motorists the most up-to-date information on road conditions and traffic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Creating a 21st Century transportation system isn’t just about building new roads and bridges – it’s about giving drivers timely information so they can make informed decisions and arrive at their destinations safely.”

The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide updates on the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway, here.

Travelers can check NYSDOT’s 511NY before traveling by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website here or downloading the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view traffic cameras and access to other transit information. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction.