DOT submits I-81 grid-endorsing plan to federal government for review

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ALBANY, NY (WSYR-TV) — New York State’s draft plan endorsing the removal of I-81 through Downtown Syracuse has been submitted to the federal government for review.
The submission is an expected formal part of the years-long process determining what to do with the aging viaduct.

Last year, the Department of Transportation released a long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which argued for a community grid of local roads in place of the raised highway, rejecting other options such as a new highway or underground tunnel.

After the public had the chance to weigh in on that initial plan, the Department of Transportation continued to make some small changes which are included in the unreleased updated version of the plan submitted to the federal government.

The Department of Transportation submitted the plan on July 17, but didn’t proactively release the submission until asked by reporters on Wednesday.

After the federal government reviews the merits of the plan, not necessarily the final outcome, it will be released to the public for more review, including a formalized public comment period.

Congressman John Katko praised the state’s submission and pushes the Federal Highway Administration to take quick action.

Katko says, “Now, the Federal Highway Administration must immediately begin review of the state’s draft plan so that the public comment period may begin in a timely fashion. Once the public comment period commences, it will be essential that individuals, families, and businesses from across Central New York share their opinions so that our community’s voice is fully heard.”

He says, “As we move forward, I will continue my work in Congress and on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to ensure the federal dollars are available for this critical project.  With the COVID-19 pandemic straining resources on our state and local governments, it is essential, now more than ever, that we deliver this funding.”


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