State DOT engineers: latest I-81 plan won’t displace people living near viaduct

Future of 81

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The latest plan to replace I-81 is meant to fix mistakes of the past, especially in the neighborhood the viaduct cuts through and towers over.

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Transportation clarified claims raised by Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli regarding the proposed project.

The Assemblyman, who serves as chair of the Transportation Committee, said Tuesday he believes people who live at the Syracuse Housing Authority’s Pioneer Homes, located next to the viaduct, will have to be temporarily displaced when construction begins.

“If you’re going to take down that viaduct, the people in those buildings are going to have to be relocated,” Assemblyman Magnarelli said in an interview Wednesday with NewsChannel 9. “I cannot imagine that they’re going to be able to take down those structures with people living feet away.”

However, in a statement to NewsChannel 9 on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Transportation said there are no plans to make those who live at Pioneer Homes move out, not even temporarily.

“NYSDOT is not forcing residents of Pioneer Homes to move. There are no plans to temporarily displace people living in Pioneer Homes as part of the construction project. NYSDOT is working directly with Syracuse Housing Authority and the community to mitigate impacts as they relate to the project.” — Joe Morrissey, NYSDOT Spokesperson

In its plan, the State DOT endorsed a community grid option to replace the aging I-81 viaduct through Downtown Syracuse. Construction is set to begin next year and will happen in phases over five years.

People with concerns about how the project will impact them can submit comments as part of the formal public comment period that closes on September 14.

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