transportation

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

J. Stephen Conn / via Flickr

While often seen as an economic lifeline of another era, New York's canals are poised to have a big year for moving freight; almost two centuries after goods were first transported on the upstate New York waterway.

The regional airports in Ithaca and Binghamton would both lose their air traffic controllers if federal budget cuts known as sequestration take full effect. The first round of closures begins April 7.

Joanna Richards

Until recently, the only way to drive between Route 11 and Interstate 81 near Fort Drum was a two-lane road, Route 342. As the Army base grew, local businesses flocked there to serve the increasing traffic. But the state built an $87 million bypass to ease traffic and give military vehicles a direct route to Fort Drum’s main gate. I-781, as it’s known, opened last December. Local shop owners have had mixed reactions to the new road.

Courtesy Connective Corridor

Red modern-looking street lamps, bright green bike lanes and smoothly paved roadways now stretch from Syracuse University to the edge of the city's downtown.

Third Way / Flickr

Members of the 113th Congress will be sworn in January 3 -- and part of the new Congress will be a familiar face returning to Washington to represent the Syracuse area in a redistricted seat.

Jacob Enos / Flickr

Updated: Tues. 2:55 p.m. with correction.

The New York Thruway Authority has rescinded a controversial 45 percent truck toll hike proposal, saying it intends to cut costs instead.

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.

Fort Drum connector road to I-81 opens

Dec 6, 2012

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

Marie Cusick / WMHT

Transporting the millions of gallons of water, as well as equipment, sand, and other materials needed to hydraulically fracture a natural gas well requires quite a few truck trips, to put it mildly.

One well site could require up to 3,399 one-way truck trips [PDF], according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's 2011 draft environmental impact statement (dSGEIS) on hydrofracking.

All those trips by heavy trucks can quickly beat up and wear out roads if they're not built to handle it.

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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