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NYSDOT hosts open house for I-81 viaduct project

Community members speak with NYSDOT and local officials about the changes to I-81 at an open house in North Syracuse Aug. 10.
Abigail Connolly
Community members speak with NYSDOT and local officials about the changes to I-81 at an open house in North Syracuse Aug. 10.

The New York State Department of Transportation is beginning a series of open houses to help communities prepare for the I-81 viaduct project.

Community members and State DOT officials gathered at North Syracuse Junior High School Thursday to answer questions about construction scheduling, design features and environmental benefits for I-81 construction. The event aimed to inform residents about the project’s changes to the northern interchange of I-481 and I-81. For TeNesha Murphy, the I-81 Viaduct Project community liaison and public information officer, the open house meant being able to directly inform community members about what changes they may see during construction.

“That’s what we are here tonight to do,” Murphy said. “It’s to explain to people different steps and the different stages of this construction so that they can adjust their lives around it and it won’t be such a heavy impact to them.”

For Mattydale resident Meg Barney, the event helped ease concerns about traffic around the city.

“I had concerns, certainly, about how it was affecting traffic, especially down by the hospitals,” Barney said. “I think my concerns have been allayed, now I am just curious to see how it all unfolds.”

Murphy said the open houses are for anyone who wants to learn more about the construction, even if they are not a supporter of the community grid.

“We know everybody might not be happy with the project,” Murphy said. “We understand that. But we do hope to educate them on what we are doing and be as transparent as possible to hopefully help them understand our side of it and how we are building this massive project.

The next open house will focus on the southern interchange of I-81.

More information on the I-81 Viaduct Project can be found on the DOT website: https://webapps.dot.ny.gov/i-81-viaduct-project.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.