New York Crossings Project render Photo: Governor’s Office

Just one week after revealing his plans to upgrade New York City’s outdated Penn Station, Governor Cuomo unveiled his latest transformational vision to “bring New York City into the 21st century.”

The highlight of the New York Crossings Project presented yesterday was the adding of energy-efficient, high-tech LED lighting to all of New York’s MTA-owned bridges and tunnels, transforming them into permanent and dazzling art installations.

LED lighting costs significantly less than other forms of traditional roadway lighting and lasts up to 6 times longer, Cuomo said at the unveiling. In addition, LED lighting uses between 40 and 80 percent less energy than traditional lighting.

The ability to program the LED lights to change color and pattern will transform the structures into stunning multi-color light shows visible for miles from dusk until dawn nightly.

These high-tech light shows have the potential to create additional tourist revenue, added Cuomo.

Installation of LED lighting is set to begin in January 2017.

Cuomo also said that in an effort to decrease commuter congestion, toll booths will be replaced with state-of-the-art automatic tolling as part of the New York Crossings Project. Vehicles will be able to pass through crossings without stopping to pay a toll.

Drivers enrolled in the automated E-ZPass program will be charged for the toll on their E-ZPass, while drivers not enrolled in E-ZPass will have their license plates photographed and receive a bill for the crossing in the mail.

By automating toll collection, Cuomo believes the 800,000 drivers that pass through New York’s bridges and tunnels daily will shave an estimated 21 hours off their commute a year.

Advanced cameras and sensors will also be installed to read license plates in the hopes of enhancing security. Cuomo said cutting edge facial recognition software would also be tested in a further effort to thwart potential terrorist attacks on New York.

New York Crossings Project flood protection Photo: Governor’s Office

Hurricanes Sandy and Irene revealed deficiencies in flood resiliency in New York’s tunnels. Although they were built to withstand a 100-year flood, they were revealed to be poorly equipped to handle the 500-year floods that accompanied recent hurricanes.

New barriers to block floodwater from entering tunnels and water-tight barriers to further protect the tunnel and its facilities will be installed.

Cuomo hopes these new enhancements will help “recapture the spirit that made New York the Empire State in the first place.”

The funding for these transformational improvements is allocated as part of the MTA’s $27 billion capital plan.

You can view a demonstration of the LED light show below.

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