Today in History: The New York State Thruway Opens from Rome to Rochester

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On June 24th 1954, a 115-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway opened from Rome to Rochester, with then Governor Thomas E. Dewey presiding at ceremonies near Thompson Road. As part of the celebrations, a cavalcade of 500 cars paraded down the newly opened highway. Participating automobiles included a 1912 Ford, 1929 DuPont Speedster, emergency service vehicles, school buses, milk trucks, sports cars from Mercedes, Jaguar, and Ferrari, and brand new model cars from Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth, and 15 other manufacturers. Syracusan Jerome Rusterholtz was one of the leading advocates for the construction of the Thruway. The initial speed limit was set at 60mph, with fines up to $50 for speeding violations.

Almost exactly 12 years earlier, in July 1942, ground was broken at Liverpool by Governor Dewey for the first section of the New York State Thruway.

Today, the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, the 570-mile superhighway crossing New York State, is one of the longest toll superhighway systems in the United States.

Here’s a video of the construction of the thruway in 1954: