i-81

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

In his State of the State speech in Syracuse, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that planning for Interstate-81 reconstruction in downtown Syracuse will once again include studies of the tunnel and depressed highway options. Those are two options that the state Department of Transportation previously eliminated.

Members of the audience applauded when Cuomo announced the return of the tunnel and depressed highway options.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Over the past several years, many central New York residents have debated passionately about what they think should happen to the Interstate-81 project through downtown Syracuse. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is encouraging central New Yorkers to come together regarding a plan for the future of Interstate 81 through Syracuse. The Democrat says he’s ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump on infrastructure, but he warns against a divided community.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State Department of Transportation officials said it is possible a tunnel could be reconsidered as an option for the I-81 reconstruction project in Syracuse. But I-81 project director Mark Frechette made it very clear at a public meeting why the tunnel option was eliminated.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New Yorkers have one last chance to offer their opinions about the future of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse. But the forum being held Wednesday night is not an event put on by the people making the decision.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Interstate-81 project to replace the current viaduct in downtown Syracuse is down to two options. But regardless of whether a community grid or new viaduct is built, common features are proposed for another section of I-81 north of the viaduct. Those features include a new I-81 and I-690 interchange known as flyovers. It will also expand lanes and reconstruct several bridges.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents in the town of DeWitt got a chance to see the final two proposals for reconstructing Interstate-81 through downtown Syracuse. Rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a street-level community grid could impact the DeWitt area.

If the state goes with the community grid option, Interstate-481, which runs through DeWitt, would be redesignated as the new I-81. It would circumvent the city of Syracuse rather than going through it as I-81 does currently and would continue to do if the viaduct is rebuilt.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Department of Transportation is hosting neighborhood meetings regarding the Interstate-81 reconstruction project through downtown Syracuse. Many residents in Skaneateles are concerned that the project could negatively affect their area.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse comes to the end of its useful life, the state’s alternatives are down to two options: the viaduct reconstruction or community grid. The third option of a tunnel was dropped from consideration.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Regardless of which option is chosen as the replacement of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse, there are some common features in all the plans. The New York State Department of Transportation would expand I-81 north of the viaduct and add a new interchange. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner said Republican Rep. John Katko has not asked her how he can help the city of Syracuse during his first term in office. Katko's office refuted the claim and said that the congressman has helped on a number of issues.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Drivers that use Interstate 690 east to get to Syracuse from the western suburbs will need a little more time for their commute in the coming days. The New York State Department of Transportation is doing some major deck repairs just before the I-690 interchange with Interstate 81 (see maps below), which will shut down a stretch of road that 37,000 drivers use to get into the city of Syracuse every day.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The candidates in the race for the 24th Congressional District are previewing some of what's in store for the campaign ahead. 

Shortly after basking in the success of her primary victory Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Colleen Deacon, a former staffer for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), quickly shifted to the general election.

Doug Kerr / WRVO News

The Urban Jobs Task Force is urging the New York State Department of Transportation to apply to a federal program that would require contractors to hire local residents for the I-690 project in Syracuse.

The state is planning to spend $74 million next year to repair 15 crumbling bridges along a portion of Interstate 690 between Teall Avenue and Beech Street in the city of Syracuse. Urban Jobs Task Force Chair Aggie Lane is asking state officials to seriously look at the Local Labor Hiring Pilot Program, something the federal Department of Transportation is trying out.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The state Department of Transportation is informing the public on how it would acquire property if it is needed in the reconstruction of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse. The earliest the state would begin that process is still two years away.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

As central New York waits for a decision on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through Syracuse, motorists will see road work on the current road in coming months. I-81 project director Mark Frechette calls it band-aiding -- maintenance work to be done this year on a stretch of I-81 that needs to be replaced.

"When you look at the interchange, just between 81 and 690, it has over a million square feet of deck area. So you don’t know where you’ll get a hole, or a beam will deteriorate, or an accident will knock down signage or a guard rail,” said Frechette.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Work behind the scenes continues as the New York State Department of Transportation moves towards removing or replacing the crumbling Interstate 81 viaduct that cuts through the heart of Syracuse.

The community has been talking about this for years now -- what to do when the viaduct that brings I-81 through Syracuse comes to the end of its lifespan next year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As the Interstate-81 viaduct that runs through downtown Syracuse reaches the end of its useful life, three options are being studied to replace it. Regardless of which option is selected, hundreds of families living in public housing living near the interstate are going to be directly affected.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Passage of the transportation bill in Congress last week includes some good news for central New York as it gets ready to rebuild a major transportation artery through the city of Syracuse.

The legislation is the first long-term highway bill passed by Congress in over a decade. The $305 billion bill will provide funds for fixing roads and bridges and for the upkeep of mass transit. But for Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), one of the high points is the designation of I-81 as a “high priority corridor.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation and the former mayor of Syracuse, Matt Driscoll, returned to Syracuse on Wednesday to give an update on the I-81 viaduct project. Engineers are currently analyzing each proposal for the interstate's future.

Driscoll says he is seriously considering three plans: a new viaduct replacement, a community grid with the boulevard option or a tunnel. While each plan has its pros and cons, Driscoll said money should not be a deterrent for any of the options. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is calling on Congress to replenish the highway trust fund, to fix and upgrade the city’s interstates, saying the fund’s stability has implications for the future of Interstate-81.

Whatever the decision on I-81 in Syracuse is, money to rebuild or remove it will come from multiple sources, one those being the federal government. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

More information about Interstate 81’s future in downtown Syracuse should be available in the next few days, as state transportation officials will release a new study on the options for the elevated roadway.

Zack Seward / WXXI

The possibility of Interstate 81 someday being buried under Syracuse is still alive, but it’s hard to tell just how seriously state transportation planners are considering it. Businesses and suburban-centric officials have been pushing for a so-called hybrid replacement for Interstate 81. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Onondaga County Legislature has put its support behind a so-called hybrid option to replace Interstate 81 through Syracuse, the same day the Downtown Committee put its weight behind the boulevard plan.

It’s another example of the suburban versus urban divide that has developed over this lengthy debate about the future of Interstate 81.

The Downtown Committee compared the two options the state transportation department is formally studying right now: a rebuilt viaduct, or the highway’s diversion around the city and replacing it with a boulevard.

oliver_hine / via Flickr

A sharply divided city argues over whether to keep a major transit link running through downtown, or to route it around the outskirts of town.

It’s nearly the same debate going on today, but this was in the 1920s. Then, Syracuse was arguing over whether to build an elevated rail corridor through downtown, as Dennis Connors, curator of the Onondaga Historical Association explains.

"And there was a whole campaign, the pro-leave it downtown and elevate it, versus the move it out of downtown and put it around the north side of the city," he said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers will again be able to weigh in on the decision about the future of Interstate 81. Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon will ask lawmakers to stand behind the option he believes is the best compromise among the plans being discussed.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is jumping into the discussion on the future of Interstate 81.  The Republican is calling on the New York state and federal governments to include all options for the future of I-81 when a scoping report is released to the public in the coming weeks.  

Rethink81

A group of architects and urban developers favoring the removal of the interstate through downtown Syracuse are out with a drawing of what the city could look like if the roadway was gone.

The group, ReThink 81, is making the argument that tearing down the elevated highway would make room for economic growth, where currently the roadway creates a gap in economic vitality between downtown and University Hill. The highway bisects those two neighborhoods.

Syracuse city council calls for I-81 to be torn down

Jan 22, 2015
Zack Seward / WXXI

The Syracuse Common Council is taking a formal stand on what should be done with the aging infrastructure of Interstate 81. The lawmakers will tell the state they want the viaduct gone.

The future of the mile and a half of elevated highway cutting through downtown has become a urban versus suburban divide. Man city residents and elected leaders say the highway is just that: a divide through the middle of the city, which blocks economic growth and isolates communities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks about father Mario Cuomo's love of Fort Drum

Dec 9, 2014
Karen Dewitt / WRVO

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo participated in Monday's homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum, he was asked by a reporter about his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo and the work he did with Fort Drum while he was in office.

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo has reportedly been hospitalized for several weeks because of a heart condition, and his son has not spoken much in public about his father's health.

The current governor said he and one of his daughters visited his father Sunday night and told him the 82 year-old he would be visiting Fort Drum the next day.

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