transportation

6:45am

Mon July 7, 2014
Transportation

Red to green: Syracuse working to upgrade traffic signal system

Traffic moves through downtown Syracuse at the intersection of Warren and East Washington Streets.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

It’s what every commuter hates when trying to get to work in the morning: red lights. They slow drive times down and waste gas, but the city of Syracuse is working to upgrade its traffic light system, so drivers see more green.

"By coordinating the traffic lights, what happens is, we can tell the traffic light not only how long to be green in a certain direction, but when to go green," explains Harry Carlson of the city's public works department.

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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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8:20am

Thu June 19, 2014
Infrastructure

More federal money sought for rural bridges

Sen. Charles Schumer wants to add about $50 million to funding that comes to New York for upkeep and repair of rural bridges.

The federal government provides the state with $71 million a year right now to maintain the thousands of bridges that don’t fall under federal purview. That number is tied to a 2009 transportation bill.

There are efforts in Congress to continue to cap that amount through 2020. The Democrat says continuing to cap the fund will lead to further deterioration of rural bridges. 

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3:00pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Regional Coverage

17 ships now in traffic jam on St. Lawrence Seaway

The 656-foot freighter Federal Kivalina ran aground Tuesday after loosing its steering.
Robert Fratangelo U.S. Coast Guard Auxillery

There are now 17 shipping freighters in a traffic jam on the St. Lawrence Seaway because a disabled vessel has been blocking their path since Tuesday afternoon.

The freighter Federal Kivalina has been stuck in the American Narrows section of the seaway, near Collins Landing, N.Y., since it lost steering and ran aground. It's stuck about a third of a mile up river from the Thousand Islands Bridge.

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5:24pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Transportation

Traffic on St. Lawrence Seaway blocked by disabled freighter

The freighter Federal Kivalina became disabled Tuesday afternoon and is anchored off of Collins Landing, N.Y. on the St. lawrence Seaway.
U.S. Coast Guard via St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

A large freighter stuck in a narrow part of the St. Lawrence Seaway since yesterday afternoon is beginning to cause a backup of shipping traffic along the waterway.

The Federal Kivalina lost power yesterday afternoon in the "American Narrows" section of the seaway and ran aground a third of a mile north of the Thousand Islands Bridge, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The bridge, west of Alexandria Bay, carries Interstate 81 over the St. Lawrence River.

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6:14am

Thu May 8, 2014
Transportation

Erie Canal opens for 190th season, as commercial shipping returns

The Tug Boat Syracuse, part of the Canal Corp's fleet, pulls into Lock 24 in Baldwinsville Wednesday, the first day of the canal season.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Erie Canal and New York's smaller waterways are open for their 190th consecutive season connecting New York Harbor with the Great Lakes and other points west and north.

The 524 miles of waterways drove the rise of upstate New York's cities two centuries ago. Now, the canal is mostly a tourism and recreation path.

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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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1:34pm

Tue April 22, 2014
Infrastructure

Syracuse has repaired 2,000 potholes since April 1

Kevin Hunter, a Syracuse public workers employee, prepares the city's new pothole patching truck.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Public works crews have already patched 2,000 potholes on Syracuse streets in April, but there are so many more, they now have their own email address.

City officials Tuesday unveiled a new pothole repair truck and called on residents to help report potholes around town. A quarter of those repaired so far came from city complaints, officials said.

Finding more shouldn't be a problem.

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6:32am

Mon March 31, 2014
Energy

Increase in ND oil rail traffic through New York raises safety concerns

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) worker at a rail yard inspection.
New York State Department of Transportation

A clear and present danger hiding in plain sight.

That’s how Cornell University’s Susan Christopherson describes the oil train traffic through the state.

A massive explosion caused by a runaway oil train in Quebec last July has raised awareness about the levels of flammable material being shipped by rail.

Christopherson, a professor of city and regional planning, says New York state finds itself with a mobile oil problem.

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7:46am

Thu March 6, 2014
Transportation

NY DOT looking at five options to speed up rail travel

An Amtrak train pulls into the Syracuse regional transportation hub.
hectate1 via Flickr

New York state transportation planners have opened the discussion about the best way to speed up train travel through upstate New York.

Passenger trains running between Buffalo and New York City right now run at about 50 miles per hour and are often slowed more by competing freight train traffic.

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7:20am

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Water mains and transportation focus of infrastructure forum

Greg Lancette of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 union speaks with Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) at an infrastructure forum Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Central New York's underground infrastructure - namely, water mains - was a big focus of a discussion about the region's infrastructure hosted by Rep. Dan Maffei Tuesday.

Maffei, a Democrat from Syracuse, gathered elected officials, engineers and administrators at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse to discuss infrastructure. One main message was that upgrades and maintenance of the region's plumbing and water pipes has been an often ignored or delayed investment.

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7:36am

Tue February 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

Changes coming to make West Street more pedestrian friendly

West Street in Syracuse is six lanes wide in some parts and difficult to cross on foot.
dougtone via Flickr

Changes are coming to Syracuse’s West Street artery to make the roadway more pedestrian friendly and less of a barrier for the Near Westside neighborhood.

West Street was built in the middle of the last century, as Interstate 81 was paving through the city, as a way to move cars more easily. It’s six lanes wide and not pedestrian friendly, but many west side residents have to cross the street to get downtown or to the grocery store.

The Near Westside Initiative, a community advocacy group has been working with the state transportation department on a redesign.

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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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7:06am

Thu December 26, 2013
Regional Coverage

Sand, salt, beet juice?

New York State Thruway Authority truck with 2,000 gallons of beet-brine mixture
Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

The winter months can pose a headache for drivers navigating the roads after a snow storm. Plowing can only do so much and too often a slick, hard pack of snow and ice can cover streets making them dangerous to drive.

So what are road crews trying now? Beet juice.

It’s not used everywhere, but it is catching on. The New York State Thruway Authority is one of several state agencies pre-treating and treating roads with and mixture of beet juice extract and brine water.

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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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5:23pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Business

New authority hopes to improve operations at Syracuse airport

mrsmecomber via Flickr

Correction: The authority planned to take over operations of the airport is a public benefit authority and not private.

Early next year control of day-to-day operations at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport will transfer from a city department to a private public benefit authority, a move city and airport officials say will mean benefits for travelers.

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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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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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2:57pm

Thu August 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse airport receives federal grant

Hancock International Airport
City of Syracuse/Department of Aviation

Syracuse's Hancock Airport is getting a $4.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that officials say will help keep flights on time.  Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan says the funds will pay for a new taxiway, and area where diverted planes can go.

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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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6:40am

Thu July 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Sailing through history

The Lois McClure on Lake Champlain.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

The Lois McClure is a replica of an 1862 canal schooner that's also a floating museum. This summer she's commemorating 19th century transportation history by traveling from Lake Champlain, across the canal system to Buffalo, down the St. Lawrence river to Montreal, and back again.

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8:10am

Fri June 28, 2013
Business

Port of Oswego shifts its business from water to land

Freight moved by rail and truck has risen to make up half of the Port of Oswego's business.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Jonathan Daniels warns it's about to get real loud just as a fork lift drops a huge block of aluminum. Sure enough, the block creates a thud as the forklift goes back to pick up another piece.

Daniels, the executive director of the Port of Oswego, is making his rounds. Despite the port's prime real estate at the end of the Oswego Canal and the first deep water port on Lake Ontario for ships coming in from the St. Lawrence Seaway, there aren't any ships docked here this day.

But workers are still busy. Inside a warehouse, another crew is filling up a railcar with grain.

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10:14am

Tue June 25, 2013
Erie Canal

Barge traffic increases along Erie Canal

Tugboat Margot engineer Lee Palmateer and deck hand Kenson Delacruz (background) dock a barge along the Oswego Canal.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York's Erie Canal is reviving its history to again be an economic corridor for commercial shipping through upstate New York — after decades of being mostly used by recreational boats.

Shipping from Canada is expected to lead to a level of commercial traffic not seen in decades.

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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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