A breakdown of the safety of the aging I-81 elevated highway

Future of 81

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s been decades since the conversation around replacing the I-81 viaduct began. It was unsure if the current viaduct was still safe. The simple answer coming from the State Department of Transportation Wednesday is yes.

When the debate began in 2008, the DOT knew that portions of the viaduct were severely deteriorated as the highway nears the end of its useful life. That life was said to have ended back in 2017, but it’s years later and still at least two years from putting a shovel in the ground.

“We inspect that bridge and we inspect it often. And at least on a yearly basis. It is safe now, if it wasn’t safe, we would do something about making it safe,” said Mark Frechette, the NYS DOT Director of Planning and Program Management. 

The DOT will continue to inspect the viaduct and complete any repairs if needed until the project is complete. 

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I-81 Resources: 

View the full New York State Department of Transportation DEIS report here. 

Click here for full renderings of the proposed community grid.

If you want to weigh in on the report, you can write comments to:

Mark Frechette, PE, Project Director

New York State Department of Transportation, Region 3

333 East Washington Street

Syracuse, NY 13202

You can email comments to I81Opportunities@dot.ny.gov.

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