The New York State Transportation Department finally released its long awaited Impact Statement regarding the future of the I-81 Viaduct that runs through Downtown Syracuse. The Transportation Department has thrown its support towards a Community Grid option to replace the viaduct whose lifespan is coming to an end.
The Community Grid option would take 5 years to complete and cost $1.9 billion which is an increase of $700 million more than previously estimated. The Grid option would remove the entire viaduct and route through-traffic onto Route 481. The Transportation Department dismissed the tunnel option as too expensive, and rebuilding Route 81 would require the acquisition of more private property than would the Grid option.
Upstate Medical University, SUNY ESF, and Syracuse University have all expressed support for the Community Grid option. Before any work can begin though, a public commentary period will be required as will meetings with New York State lawmakers. There is sure to be more to this story in the months to come. Stay tuned!