SUNY ESF to use community grid I-81 option for education, research

May 10, 2019

SUNY ESF in Syracuse is ready to use the community grid option for replacing the Interstate 81 viaduct as a research opportunity. Interim President David Amberg said the proposal, which the state supports, offers more than 100 ways for students and staff to use their expertise.

"And not merely the aspects of where the community grid is, even as they expand 481 to become the new 81, a lot of wet lands a lot of forests," Amberg said. "There’s just a lot of touchpoints for our faculty to weigh in on and help make sure that we get the most out of this project."

A draft Environmental Impact Statement has identified the community grid as the preferred option for replacing the crumbling 81 viaduct in Syracuse. It would involve rerouting traffic around the city on the current Interstate 481 and creating a boulevard where the viaduct currently brings traffic through Syracuse.

Amberg said he expects everyone from chemists studying air and water quality to environmental resource engineers to use the proposal in their individual disciplines. For example, scientists will be able to use their expertise to deal with an invasive species that lines Interstate 481 in DeWitt.

"All those really tall grasses you see choke everything else out of the area very quickly, and those areas have never been mitigated for that," Amberg said. "That’s the kind of thing we can go in and say, 'OK, we can restore this environment back to what it ought to be.'"

Students can also join this learning opportunity, Amberg said, adding to their education experience.

“This project is a classroom for us,” Amberg said. “Our students can be involved in probably 100 aspects of this project from their various interests and the disciplines they’re trying to learn.”