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State DOT to hold open house on I-81 project

Zack Seward
WXXI News (file photo)
The second round of public input on the future of Interstate 81 in Syracuse begins Wednesday.

If you have any questions  or comments about the remake of Interstate 81 through Syracuse, the state Department of Transportation wants to see you at an open house later this month.

This will be the first of a series of meetings held by the state meant to engage central New Yorkers on the particulars of what will be the biggest public works project ever in the Syracuse area.

At the core of this, a 15,000 page preliminary Draft Environmental Impact Statement that outlines why the state prefers the community grid option for replacing an aging interstate viaduct that slices the city in half.  

Project Manager Mark Frechette says there will be some new project drawings available and officials will simplify information from the very technical DEIS. He said this is an important step, and can determine the timetable for the project going forward.

“We’re embarking on meeting with people. And we’re embarking on listening to people. And what comes of that is really hard to put a timetable to because we’re not sure what we’re going to get into, and that could change the project a little bit.”

The Community Grid option would replace the 1.4 mile viaduct with a boulevard, sending through traffic around the City on what is now Interstate 481.  The five-year project would also create a high speed business loop  on either side of the boulevard.

The open house will be held at the Oncenter in Syracuse June 18th from 3-8 pm.   Transportation Department officials will be able to answer questions and take official comments. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.