I81

Scott Willis / WAER News

Businesses on I-81 just north of Syracuse and the county legislators that represent them are continuing to insist that a high-speed highway be maintained through the city.  They’re urging residents and others to speak out against the state’s recommendation last week of a community grid to replace the aging viaduct that cuts through downtown.


Scott Willis / WAER News

The state Department of Transportation officials overseeing the planned street grid to replace Interstate 81 viaduct in Syracuse took time Wednesday to clarify some details and stress the benefits of the nearly $2 billion project.  The recommendation came Monday as part of a 15,000 page report on the project’s social, economic, and environmental impacts.


dot.ny.gov / New York Department of Transportation

Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for Central New York leaders to arrive at an agreement soon for what will replace the I-81 viaduct.  He’s working to secure about a billion dollars in grant funding through a federal program called New Starts designed for large, new projects.  City, county, and town leaders remain divided about a community grid or grid-tunnel combination, however. 


John Smith / WAER News

Leaders at Centerstate CEO say they prefer a community grid, plus recommendations to replace the I-81 viaduct. The board suggests ways to revitalize the city through strategies and metrics, address traffic flow and environmental improvement. This includes improvements to feeder sections of I-81 South into the city like the Bear Street corridor to enhance transportation infrastructure and connect with the Inner Harbor developments and surrounding area. Rob Simpson explains that plenty of creative thinking has to go into the plans for the best outcomes.

File photo

Suburbanites are stepping up to the challenge of getting more people engaged and open to a Community Grid option to replace the I-81 viaduct through Syracuse. Coran Klaver is the Founder of Syracuse Suburbs for the Grid and lives in DeWitt but, just on the outskirts of the city and nearby Syracuse University where she is a professor.

“The people who live in the cities and the suburbs we are all connected; we are not at odds with each other. We can’t help but be connected, and so let’s be responsible to one another,” Klaver said.  

A number of experts will be coming to the Syracuse area over the next few months to share their experiences with transportation projects on a scale similar to what’s ahead for Interstate 81.  The series is being organized and co-sponsored by the city, county, and state. County Executive Joanie Mahoney expects the experts will be a wealth of information.  Mahoney says the speakers are intended to complement the displays and materials at the Carnegie library on Columbus Circle where people can stop in at their leisure to learn more about the options and process.

Regional transportation officials fear the community will be polarized over what to do with the elevated portion of Interstate 81 through Syracuse.  Engineers just got the green light to spend the next few months conducting an environmental impact review of the various options, and narrow them down to one or two.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

Onondaga County’s Air One Helicopter Assisted State Police Tuesday night on Interstate 81 North following a stolen pick-up truck from Texas.  Authorities say the driver of the truck sped through three counties.

Air One provided lighting and communication which allowed Troopers to lower their speeds.  The vehicle in pursuit finally became stuck in the median at the Adams Center Exit in Jefferson County and the suspect was arrested.