DOT: “Business Loop 81” might convince the community grid naysayers

Future of 81

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) – Leaders of the State Department of Transportation Wednesday made it clear the community grid they’ve proposed in Monday’s Draft Environemental Impact Statement is an evolved plan from the one presented to the public in 2016.

In a meeting held at the Oncenter in October 2016, the public got its first look at the community grid and new viaduct options, and after the tunnel option was put back on the table by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the three of them were hotly debated.

The DOT’s regional director and other project leaders, who rarely have been allowed to speak about the 81 project, made themselves avialable to reporters Wednesdsay. 

The team made it clear that public comments throughtout this process, since that 2016 meeting, have helped influence the current plan.

One major part are the improvements that are planned to I-481, which includes adding lanes in some spots.

Another major addition is what’s called “Business Loop 81.” The state will maintaint a high-speed road in the footprint of I-81 for local traffic, except in the 1.2 mile stretch where the viaduct will be replaced with city streets. That’s where traffic will have to slow down and use Almond Street, Erie Boulevard, and either Oswego Boulevard or Pearl Street, before picking up high-speed Business Loop 81 again.

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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

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