New Eastbound Ramp on I-690 Eliminates Need for a Traffic Signal on the Highway During the Fair
Photos of the Project Available Here
Investment Complements "CNY Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction on the New York State Fair Orange Lot Phase 2 project has been completed, improving access to the Fairgrounds and furthering the transformation of one of Central New York's economic engines. As part of the project, the State Department of Transportation constructed a new I-690 eastbound on-ramp bridge, ensuring that a temporary traffic signal on the highway will not be required during future events at the State Fair. The new I-690 eastbound on-ramp bridge also accommodates pedestrians with a 10-foot wide pedestrian walkway that will help ease the journey to and from the Orange lot.
"The completion of this project is about more than just a parking lot - it's proof that regardless of the challenges we face, New York will continue moving forward and building back better," Governor Cuomo said. "These new road access improvements enhance the great work we have already done at the New York State Fairgrounds, making it one of the state's biggest tourist attractions and ensuring that when the State Fair returns it will be stronger than ever before."
Construction on the $27 million first phase of the State Fair's 65-acre Orange Lot project began in October 2017 and was completed by the Department of Transportation in time for the 2018 Great New York State Fair. Phase 1 created more than 7,000 parking spaces in the Orange lot, up from the 4,000 to 5,000 that were available on the previous dirt surface. A new exit ramp to Interstate 690 west from the western end of the Orange Lot also allowed fairgoers direct access to I-690 from the State Fair and the Onondaga County-owned amphitheater. Prior to the opening of this ramp, vehicles could only exit the Orange Lot from the Exit 7 area of I-690 during events scheduled outside of the Fair.
Phase 2 of the $11.18 million State Fair Access improvement project took Phase 1 a step further. In addition to the new eastbound ramp, the project negated the need for a temporary traffic signal that is in operation on I-690 for the State Fair every year.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "As our state and economy rebounds from the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever that our infrastructure is able to meet the demands of the 21st Century and allow our communities and attractions like the Great New York State Fair to grow. This is a project that makes perfect sense, helping fairgoers to access the highway quicker, easier and safer, while providing another avenue for pedestrians to get to and from the fairgrounds. Governor Cuomo's targeted investments are helping to transform New York State for the better and there are very few places where this is more apparent than the New York State Fairgrounds."
New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "The completion of the Orange Lot ramp solves a major challenge for us and our transportation partners, and will help greatly with the flow of traffic out of our largest parking lot. This improvement continues the changes begun by Governor Cuomo that have transformed the Fair and the Fairgrounds."
Assembly Member William Magnarelli, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, said, "Even without the NYS Fair this year, the State is making improvements to ensure that people attending future events at the fairgrounds will have an easier time accessing parking lots and leaving on the major thoroughfares. The fairgrounds is a year-round entertainment site that attracts millions of visitors. Improving access to the parking lots and on-ramps to the interstates increases safety for all drivers and pedestrians."
County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "While we may not be able to celebrate the NYS Fair this year due to COVID-19, the completion of this important infrastructure project is a hopeful and welcomed sign that we will be able to get together again. Thank you to New York State for their continued investment in Central New York. We look forward to additional investment and progress in the future."
Mayor Ben Walsh said, "It's terrific to celebrate yet another major improvement to the New York State Fairgrounds. The facilities an important part of our economy and quality of life in Syracuse and Central New York, and completion of the new on-ramp to I-690 east makes the complex even more attractive. The Fair may be on pause this summer, but this and other investments by Governor Cuomo mean the site will be easier to access for major events all year long. It also means that when the Fair returns, it will be bigger and better than ever."
Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America's third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of Governor Cuomo's CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. A record 1.3 million attended the Fair in 2019.
In absence of a State Fair this year, the Fair has worked hard to reprogram its food and entertainment options by working with vendors to provide offerings in the Orange Lot. Every weekend, food vendors who have a long association with the Fair have offered drive thru service of fair style food and beverages, along with socially distanced drive in movies. A virtual State Fair took place from mid-August through Labor Day to help give traditional fairgoers a unique Fair experience. The Fair has also hosted drive thru food bank events as well as continual blood drives from the Red Cross for several months to assist them with blood collection during a time of enhanced need.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. Since the start of renovations efforts in 2015, fair attendance is up 41 percent. Improvements to the fairgrounds, including the Expo Center, have also boosted the Fair's year-round facilities rental business.
A year-round schedule of events is available here. Find the Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr. New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at firstname.lastname@example.org
Accelerating CNY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.