New York State Department of Transportation

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Now that students have returned for a new school year, the New York State Department of Transportation is making sure school buses are safe.  

Mike Nuber is a supervisor for the DOT’s bus inspection program, looking for any problems with the school buses in the West Genesee School District fleet. They do this twice a year -- first checking out all the paperwork on a bus, then moving on to the bus itself.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named former Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll as New York’s next commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

This announcement comes as the DOT is trying to narrow down possible options to replace the aging viaduct portion of Interstate-81 that goes through downtown Syracuse.

The decision over whether to keep the route through downtown or to divert traffic around Syracuse has been controversial.

Current Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said it's always helpful to know people in positions of authority when decisions like this are being made.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

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.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse lawmakers have gone on record calling on the New York State Department of Transportation to replace the Interstate-81 viaduct that runs through the city with a street-level boulevard. The move further defines the debate over what to do with the aging highway, which is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Common councilors have voted unanimously to support the option that would tear down I-81 and force traffic around the city, using Interstate-481.

Another round of public comments on I-81 concluding

Aug 29, 2014
Zack Seward / WXXI

Another study, another round of public comments. It may seem like the decision-making process on the future of the elevated Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse will never end.

An end is in sight, even if it’s still far off. Transportation officials say they hope to make a decision on whether to rebuild the viaduct, divert it around the city or tunnel it underground, in 18 months to two years.

Rethink 81

Rebuilding Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse will mean impact to properties along it. Now a group opposed to that has outlined what impact a new, wider elevated highway could have on the cityscape.

The state transportation department says as many as 40 buildings in Syracuse could have to come down to make way for a wider highway cutting through downtown, since a new viaduct would have to be up to 30 feet wider to meet regulations for modern roadways.

NYS Department of Transportation

In the city of Utica, the north-south arterial, which connects three major state routes, has divided the west side from the rest of the city. But after years of debate, the state Department of Transportation is now rebuilding the road, with the goal to make the arterial safer and allow people and cars to move more freely between the two sections of Utica. The city says the project will also help its revitalization effort.

DOT to determine scope of rooftop highway study

Jan 27, 2014

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his budget address, $2.5 million has been allocated to analyze the Route 11 corridor in the North Country. But state transportation officials say they have not yet determined what kind of highway study they're going to do.

When Cuomo mentioned Interstate Route 98, aka the rooftop highway, between Watertown and Plattsburgh in his budget speech last week, he acknowledged a range of opinions on the decades-old idea.

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.

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.

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.

The Northeast rail corridor will see shorter travel times and be more reliable. Through a new 25-year lease, Amtrak has taken control of a busy stretch of track leading to the capital region.

The New York State Thruway Authority board is scheduled to meet again next Monday. But there’s still uncertainty whether they will finally act on a proposal to raise truck tolls.

The leader of the New York state Assembly Republicans is proposing to do away with the state’s Thruway Authority and merge it into the state Department of Transportation, in an attempt to avoid excessive toll hikes.

Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr

While summer is winding down, it is still is a very busy construction season in New York state. Transportation officials want drivers to be aware of any construction delays that could come their way.

The budget for fixing New York State roads and bridges has almost doubled this year, thanks to the transportation portion of the New York Works program.  The $1.2 billion program will repair roads and bridges, but it is also intended to function as a jobs and economic development engine.