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Crews to begin first phase of State Fair orange parking lot construction this fall

A rendering of the Orange lot at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes in advance of a $27 million project to “upgrade and improve” the 65-acre lot. The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the first phase of the project will begin “this fall” and finish by the start of the next State Fair on Aug. 22, 2018. (Visual provided by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and the New York State Department of Transportation)

GEDDES, N.Y. — Crews will begin work on a $27 million project to “upgrade and improve” the 65-acre Orange parking lot at the State Fairgrounds “this fall.”

The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t provide a more specific date or time frame in the news release.

The work will conclude before the start of next year’s State Fair on Aug. 22, 2018.


As currently configured, the Orange lot is not paved, does not have lined parking, and loses up to 30 percent of its parking capacity during wet weather, Cuomo’s office said.

The project will bring traffic patterns and parking availability “up-to-date to meet the needs of 21st century fairgoers.”

The Orange lot serves as the main parking facility for the New York State Fair and the Lakeview Amphitheater. During popular concerts and busy fair days, traffic backs up on the Exit 7 ramp leading to the lot, causing delays on Interstate 690.

The new lot will “help alleviate” some of these delays, Cuomo’s office contends.


Project details

In this project, crews will pave the lot and increase its capacity, “improving traffic flow,” according to the news release. They will also install new drainage features to prevent flooding.

The project will also involve a redesigned intersection from Exit 7 on I-690 with a new traffic signal, and a new exit from the west end of the Orange lot to I-690 West.

These changes, coupled with the construction of new access roads, will “expand” parking; “improve” the flow and circulation of traffic entering and exiting the Orange lot; and “reduce delays” on I-690, Cuomo’s office said.

Once the first phase is done, the parking lot will have more than three miles of paved interior roadways, two miles of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways, 114 new LED lights for improved visibility, along with improved storm-water management.

LED is short for light-emitting diode.

Following the completion of this project, New York will enter into a “long-term” agreement with Onondaga County for the shared use of the parking lots, “building on the partnership between the Lakeview Amphitheater and the New York State Fairgrounds.”

“For a century, the fairgrounds went virtually unchanged, and in just a few short years, New York has completely upgraded and transformed this historic attraction into a world class, multi-use operation,” Cuomo said in the news release. “Transforming the Orange lot is critical in our efforts to complete the Fair’s modernization, and will provide much needed additional capacity as we continue to attract more and more visitors to the grounds and to Central New York as a whole.”

The announcement complements Central New York Rising, the region’s “comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development.”


Second phase

The project’s second phase will focus on additional access improvements between the Orange parking lot and the adjacent interstates to eliminate the temporary traffic signal that is installed on I-690 every year during the fair.

This part of the project will include an additional redesigned on and off-ramp access system from the 695 South interchange; a new bridge to create a direct access from the Orange lot to the 690 East on-ramp; and a new pedestrian bridge from the western portion of the Orange lot to the state fairgrounds.

Cuomo’s office anticipates funding for the second phase “in the near future.”

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