Community, Transportation

New I-81 Information Sparks Sighs of Relief and Annoyance

Information about different options for I-81 are being discussed by the state. (c) 2016 Emily Adelman

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Syracuse Community on I-81

Syracuse narrows down I-81 options and community members are relieved.

By Emily Adelman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)— It has been eight years since the New York State Department of Transportation first announced the elevated portion of Interstate 81 was deteriorating.

The city of Syracuse has been considering different routes to rebuild the roadway, narrowing the option list down to three. Syracuse.com first reported Thursday morning that one option of making the portion of the highway that is elevated into a tunnel that would go under the city is gone. Now there are two options left: to expand the highway, or to get rid of the elevation portion and to funnel the traffic through the city streets in a grid-like fashion.

Many residents of the area have voiced concern, and many are relieved that the New York DOT has finally come to a decision.

“I am glad they are finally making a decision. It is going to benefit the people of Syracuse in so many ways,” said lifelong Syracuse resident Kaylee Kick.

“I am glad they have come to this conclusion.”

Another resident of the area Julia Fitzsimons likes the idea of the interstate, just maybe not the location.

“I mean, it is an annoyance for the people who live here. I would like to keep it because it benefits people, but having it run through Syracuse can be a little annoying.”

An open house today at the Oncenter in Syracuse provided more information on the latest project information — including an expansion on the final options that the city faces to determine the fate of I-81.

The open house comes well before the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

That document is expected to be available for public review in early 2017.