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State Recommends “Community Grid” Option For Transformation of I-81

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After conducting an environmental impact study, the State Department of Transportation says the “Community Grid” option is the preferred choice to replace the aging section of Interstate 81 in Syracuse.

Several options were considered, including the reconstruction of the existing viaduct and the new construction of an underground tunnel.

After a comprehensive review, NYSDOT concluded that a community grid alternative would best meet the state’s objectives

“The Interstate 81 Viaduct Project provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance safety and mobility through the City of Syracuse, reconnecting neighborhoods, enhancing livability and supporting the economic vitality of the region,” New York State Department of Transportation Region 3 Director David Smith said. “After extensive public outreach and careful consideration, we believe that the Community Grid best meets the project’s objectives.”

The proposed design would demolish the 1.4 mile stretch of highway that runs through downtown Syracuse, rerouting traffic to I-481, and creating a new “business link” route through Syracuse called “BL 81.”

The state says that would will take at least five years.

Although this is the state’s recommended plan, nothing is final yet. The public will have a chance to weigh in at information sessions that will be scheduled in the near future.

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