N.Y. Releases Preliminary Draft Design Report for I-81 Project

Thu May 23, 2019 - Northeast Edition #11
New York State Department of Transportation


“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,” David Smith, NYSDOT Region 3 director said. 
(New York DOT photo)
“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,” David Smith, NYSDOT Region 3 director said. (New York DOT photo)

The New York State Department of Transportation released a preliminary Draft Design Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the Interstate 81 Viaduct Project that will be subject to public and Federal Highway Administration review and comment prior to being finalized. After a comprehensive review, NYSDOT determined that a community grid alternative will best meet the objectives of the project.

"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," David Smith, NYSDOT Region 3 director said. "After extensive public outreach and careful consideration, we believe that the Community Grid best meets the project's objectives."

The environmental review evaluated a variety of project alternatives, including reconstructing the existing viaduct; dispersing traffic throughout the city through a new community grid; and constructing a new below-grade tunnel for improving an aging section of elevated highway on Interstate 81 in Syracuse between the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway bridge and the Interstate 81/690 interchange.

The comprehensive review also assessed the transportation needs of the project and the social, economic, and environmental effects of various project alternatives. Based on the preliminary Draft Design Report/Environmental Impact Statement, the Community Grid would best address the project purpose and need and therefore would be the Department's preferred alternative. To ensure ample opportunity for review and comment, a public information meeting on the document will be scheduled in the near future. Public comments will be taken into consideration as the Department advances the project.

The preliminary Draft Design Report/Environmental Impact Statement can be accessed or downloaded from the project website: dot.ny.gov/i81opportunities. Copies of the document will be available for public review at project repositories located throughout the Syracuse metropolitan region.