i-81

6:14am

Fri July 11, 2014
I-81

SU: campus will be "dramatically" impacted by I-81 construction

Interstate 81's on-ramp back onto the highway, heading north, from University Hill.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Syracuse University campus would be greatly impacted by the reconstruction of Interstate 81 through the city, a university working group has determined.

When visitors to the Syracuse University campus exit the Interstate 81 viaduct, they’re currently faced with an “unattractive city fabric,” the study concludes.

"The experience of the University is not such a good one because it’s not so clear how to get to the university," said dean of architecture Michael Speaks, who led the group, adding drivers must navigate a "cluttered path."

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8:39am

Fri June 27, 2014
Transportation

Tighter curves could minimize impact of new I-81 viaduct

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Tighter curves built into a new Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse could mean fewer buildings along the highway’s path would need to be torn down.

Rebuilding the mile and a half of elevated interstate through the city is one of two options transportation planners are recommending for how to replace the current, aging viaduct.

But a new viaduct would have to be significantly wider than the current one in order to be up to highway standards. It could also be up to ten feet higher.

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3:39pm

Mon June 23, 2014
Transportation

Tunnel, depressed highway are out in plans for new I-81

Another public meeting on the future of Interstate 81 is set for Thursday.
Zack Seward WXXI

Syracuse looks less likely to go through its own Big Dig, as state highway transportation officials recommend a tunnel or depressed highway are not the best options for a rebuilt Interstate 81 through Syracuse.

Transportation officials have been considering several variations of four core options for a new I-81: a rebuilt viaduct, a street-level boulevard, a tunnel, or sunken roadway.

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7:20am

Fri May 2, 2014
Transportation

The 16 different paths for a new Interstate 81

Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A new Interstate 81 could rise 25 feet higher than it currently does, or be buried 81 feet below the ground's surface. Those are just two of the 16 options the state Department of Transportation has revealed to the public as an update to their lengthy process of choosing how to replace the current roadway.

There are two constants in the 16 options: The north-south I-81 will be properly connected with the east-west I-690 in all directions. And properties will have to be knocked down, though DOT provided few details about that.

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5:31pm

Wed April 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

Where an Interstate 81 tunnel through Syracuse could go

An artist rendering of what Almond St. in downtown Syracuse could look like with Interstate 81 tunneled below it.
N.Y. Department of Transportation

A tunnel to replace Interstate 81's current elevated path through downtown Syracuse could take four possible routes through the city.

The New York Department of Transportation revealed tunnel options ahead of a meeting to explain all 16 possible variations of a new Interstate 81 in Syracuse. 

Interstate 81 runs from the Canadian border in the north to the Pennsylvania border in the south. The 50-year-old highway carries thousands of cars each day through Syracuse.

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11:37pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Transportation

Final decision on I-81's future is 18 months away, DOT says

Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York’s transportation commissioner says a final decision about the future of the elevated stretch of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse will be made in a year and a half.

DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald discussed the future of the aging raised highway at a budget hearing today in Albany. "It's not an easy project," she said.

McDonald says her department will be out in March with more information on what impact to other roadways changes to I-81 could create, then it's on to the next step.

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9:20am

Fri January 3, 2014
Transportation

Another voice in the I-81 debate: move people, not cars

Peter Sarver of the Moving People Transportation Coalition at their kickoff event.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Another group has formed to weigh in on the future of Interstate 81’s path through downtown Syracuse. This one calling for a focus on moving people, not cars.

The elevated stretch of I-81 through downtown Syracuse is nearing the end of its 50 year lifespan. Area residents are entwined in a lengthy debate over its second life, which largely boils down to rebuild or reroute.

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8:14am

Thu November 14, 2013
Regional Coverage

Scoping sessions highlight I-81's possible future

Visitors discuss possible options for I-81's future.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO

For five years, central New Yorkers have been talking about what should be done with an interstate viaduct that is reaching the end of its lifespan. The discussion is now formal, with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration holding the first scoping session in Syracuse, meant to gather community input on the issue.

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4:52pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Transportation

Save I-81 group out with poll showing opposition to tear down

Zack Seward WXXI

A group of suburban politicians and business owners that support keeping Interstate 81 running through the city of Syracuse are out with a poll they say shows most residents agree with them.

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7:18pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Transportation

I-81 debate is personal for those who live in highway's shadow

Interstate 81 carries tens of thousands of cars through downtown Syracuse every day, but its infrastructure is aging.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A decision on one of Syracuse's largest development projects of the century is still years away, but already opinions are becoming entrenched as others plea for more talking and new ideas.

A 1.4 mile elevated stretch of Interstate 81 running right through downtown Syracuse, known as the viaduct, will soon need to be replaced and state and federal transportation officials are in the midst of a lengthy decision process to decide how the next incarnation of the roadway will look and work. A decision is penciled in for 2017.

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7:27am

Wed September 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

New series of public meetings being held to decide I-81's future

A series of neighborhood meetings will help the Department of Transportation decide I-81's future.
Zack Seward WXXI

New York state is holding another round of meetings regarding a topic that could change the face of Syracuse. The Department of Transportation begins a series of neighborhood sessions on Wednesday meant to get more feedback on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse.

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6:39am

Wed September 18, 2013
Transportation

Rob Simpson of CenterState CEO: Think bigger on future of I-81

Interstate 81 carries tens of thousands of cars through downtown Syracuse every day, but its infrastructure is aging.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Rob Simpson, head of the economic booster organization CenterState CEO, has called on state transportation planners and central New Yorkers to think bigger when it comes to making the decision about the future of the elevated portion of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse.

The 1.4 miles of elevated highway is beginning to crumble. Transportation planners are in the midst of a lengthy process to decide the final form of a redesigned I-81. Most debate has centered around rebuilding the viaduct through downtown or re-routing it around the city.

The debate polarized the community and lawmakers over the summer.

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1:06pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Transportation

Transportation planners move forward with next step for I-81

Interstate 81 carries tens of thousands of cars through downtown Syracuse every day, but its infrastructure is aging.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

After a few weeks delay, transportation planners in central New York are moving forward with the next step in the lengthy process of deciding Interstate 81's fate in downtown Syracuse.

The 1.4 mile stretch of elevated highway through downtown, known as the viaduct, is reaching the end of its useable lifespan.

On Monday, the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council approved a $32 million study as part of the next phase of the project. This coming after a lengthy public engagement process and studies by SMTC itself.

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4:09pm

Thu August 1, 2013
Transportation

Group forms to oppose tear down of I-81 through Syracuse

Interstate 81 carries tens of thousands of cars through downtown Syracuse every day, but its infrastructure is aging.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Brushing off concerns it may be too little, too late, a new group of business owners and lawmakers has formed to oppose the seemingly narrowed options for the next incarnation of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse.

Save 81 launched Thursday to call for more options for what to do about the aging 1.4 mile stretch of I-81 through the city. While the group is opposed to the "urban boulevard" idea pushed for by many city residents, it said it has no "pre-ordained design" as an alternative.

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9:13am

Wed July 10, 2013
Transportation

D.O.T. delays next step of I-81 challenge

Zack Seward WXXI

The next stage of the planning process regarding the future of the elevated portion of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse has been pushed back a few weeks, as heat grows on state officials over the process.

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8:40am

Tue June 11, 2013
Transportation

Syracuse lawmakers take up the I-81 debate

Arleen Fordock told the Syracuse Common Council I-81 should be rebuilt through downtown, but wider.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Just a handful of Syracuse residents turned up to the Common Council's first public hearing on the lengthy and divisive debate over the future of Interstate 81 through the city's core.

Previous public forums hosted by transportation planners brought out hundreds of people and generated an equal number of comments and different opinions.

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5:54am

Fri May 31, 2013
Transportation

Maffei wants more creative options for I-81's future in Syracuse

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, is calling for more creative options for I-81 future through downtown Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei has weighed in on the future of Interstate 81 through the city’s downtown. The Democrat, from suburban DeWitt, is calling for more creative options than the ones currently on the table.

Transportation planners last week unveiled the two options (whittled down from five) they’ve deemed most feasible for the aging Interstate 81: rebuilding the elevated highway, or rerouting it and putting an urban boulevard in its place.

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7:42am

Wed May 22, 2013
Transportation

Options narrow, opinions widen on I-81's future through Syracuse

Interstate 81 is elevated for 1.4 miles through downtown Syracuse.
Zack Seward WXXI

Transportation planners have narrowed the future of Interstate 81’s path through downtown Syracuse down to two likely options: rebuild, or re-route.

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2:58am

Thu December 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum connector road to I-81 opens

The highway project that creates a direct connection between Interstate 81 and Fort Drum's main gate opened Thursday.

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4:15pm

Tue July 24, 2012
NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century

A City Faces Its 'Berlin Wall': An Interstate Highway

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 12:25 pm

A sign for Interstate 81 sits under an overpass in Syracuse, N.Y. City officials and residents are debating what to do about an aging stretch of the highway that cuts through the city.
Zack Seward for NPR

Interstate 81 runs through the heart of Syracuse, N.Y., where a 1.4-mile-long elevated stretch of the highway is known locally as "the viaduct." Like many road projects built in the middle of the last century, I-81 is bumping up against the end of its life span. While officials say it's still safe to drive on, the highway is crumbling in parts.

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9:25am

Thu May 10, 2012
Transportation

Sticky notes and surveys pave the way for I-81's future in Syracuse

The I-81 Challenge held its second public meeting Wednesday. Planning officials want the public to help determine the future of Interstate 81 in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The dozens of sticky notes mean the jury is still out.

The tabs of paper were posted next to five options Wednesday afternoon. Each represents a different future for the stretch of Interstate 81 that runs through downtown Syracuse.

Transportation planners from the I-81 Challenge began a second round of community meetings Wednesday. The public input they gather will help decide the aging highway's fate.

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4:57pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Transportation

Officials inch closer to decision day with I-81 public hearing

The second round of public input on the future of Interstate 81 in Syracuse begins Wednesday.
Zack Seward WXXI

The magic number for the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse is five:

Five different options, with a final decision five years away.

Tomorrow afternoon transportation planners from the I-81 Challenge will present a broad set of options for what to do about the aging, elevated portion of I-81 known locally as "the viaduct."

After that, planning officials begin the process of collecting the public's opinion.

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