Jobs are popular topic of I-81 comments; DOT divides construction contracts to fit local companies

Future of 81
I-81

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The chance for people to submit comments on the I-81’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement closed Thursday at 5 p.m., exactly 90 days after the 2021 version was released.

The New York State Department of Transportation declined to offer an updated total number of comments and deferred to last week’s tally of more than 3,000 submissions.

A DOT spokesperson said an update will be available next week, after final comments trickle in.

The most often commented topic, according to the DOT, relates to construction jobs.

The project’s first phase of construction, estimated to cost $800 million, is too big in scope for any one Loca construction firm. To ensure local companies and local workers can be selected the first phase will be divided into five contracts, based on five locations of the project.

The five contacts and locations of Phase 1 are:

  • Portion of I-481
  • Portion of I-481
  • I-81 through Syracuse’s Northside
  • I-81 through Syracuse’s Southside
  • I-690 enhancements, such as additions of ramps to Crouse and Irving Avenues

Final design, planning and initial construction will happen in 2022. Phase 1 continues in 2023 and 2024 and will conclude with the I-81 viaduct coming down.

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