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state fair orange lot

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 Andrew M. 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 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."

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.

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