I-81 viaduct

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

The towns likely to be most affected by the state’s community grid recommendation for I-81 will have a chance to express their concerns to the DOT on their home turf Wednesday…or will they?


Onondaga County’s Town Supervisors and Village Mayors say the state DOT has not considered their input regarding the department’s recommendation of a community grid to replace the I-81 viaduct through Syracuse. 

file photo

One of the first city leaders to call for the I-81 viaduct to come down is excited that the state has finally made a recommendation to replace it.

"I was very much overjoyed that the community grid had been the chosen option.  Although that does not mean that's the end of the story."

Hundreds Attend Katko's Townhall About Future of I-81

Feb 11, 2019
Cameron Tirado / WAER News

Even though the cold winter temperatures returned this weekend, the conversations were heated inside the Saint Matthew’s School in East Syracuse.  Over the weekend hundreds of people filled the chairs and lined the walls for Congressmember John Katko to hear their opinions on how to replace the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse.  Local physician Sunny Aslam was one of the many people in attendance to support the community grid.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse common council Tuesday evening re-ignited the debate over what to do with I-81 though the city, because councilor Joe Driscoll says the topic is so important.

"When this meeting was announced, the overhwhelming feedback was 'haven't we had this discussion enough? I've heard about this on and on, to death.' My response would be 'no we haven't.'  This is the most important decision to affect this region for 50 to 100 years, so it's worth a couple more discussions."

Driscoll says turnover on the council prompted the meeting.

Leo Tully / WAER News

A pair of Syracuse-area state lawmakers presented a report Friday that they say shows a community grid can’t be a stand-alone replacement for I-81 through the city.  The report by a former Chief Engineer of New York State Department of Transportation found the need to maintain traffic flow in and out of Syracuse.  State Senator John DeFrancisco and Assemblymember Bill Magnarelli say a hybrid solution might be best.

Neighborhood Meetings Start: Future of I-81 Still Up in the Air

Oct 19, 2016
Comments Box on table at Henninger High School.
Elana Sukert, WAER

The first of six Neighborhood Meetings to discuss the I-81 Viaduct Project was held Tuesday night at Henninger High School. The Open House format allowed the public to interact one-on-one with participants involved in the project from the State DOT to architects. Comment boxes were readily available on site as the public were hoping for their opinions to be heard.

Community member Peggy Conan turned out last night to get more insight on the two options left for consideration.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Leaders on Syracuse’s north side are concerned about the potential impact of the I-81 project on their neighborhoods.  Director of the Northside Urban Partnership Dominic Robinson stood outside the new One Group Center adjacent to Spencer Street and the freeway.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The New York State Department of Transportation released its list of three final options that the state will consider for the I-81 Viaduct thru Syracuse, and a tunnel is one of them.   The others in the 261 page "scoping report" include a community grid (boulevard) alternative, and three versions of a new viaduct.

Rethink 81

The group of property owners, businesses, and residents who want to see the I-81 viaduct torn down revealed computer generated renderings showing what a boulevard may look like. Developer Bob Doucette with Rethink 81 says their analysis of land values in the path and around the freeways shows a street level solution could generate $140 million in property value.