What changes drivers should expect first when I-81 construction begins

Future of 81

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) –The State DOT’s plan to replace the I-81 viaduct with a community grid splits five years of construction into two phases. 

If the plan is approved, construction will begin next year, but the central viaduct won’t be come down right away. 

“The phase one of the construction really is about setting the stage for the removal of the viaduct, I-81 viaduct through the heart of the city, and so we have substantial work to be done along the 481 corridor, converting that from Interstate 481 to Interstate 81,” I-81 Project Director, Mark Frechette said.

Phase one of the project would last two years and include reconstruction of the Crouse/Irving Ave 690 interchange and create a new roundabout in front of Dr. King Elementary School.

“We think that this will be a traffic calming measure to be able to slow traffic down from heading  65-70 miles an hour. Now they’ve arrived at Syracuse now they’re on their grid section and they’ll be able to maneuver through that,” Frechette said. 

Graph showing a more detailed timeline of construction for the Community Grid Alternative; NYS DOT

Through the community grid proposal, the I-81 viaduct is scheduled to be removed at the end of phase 1 and commuters would be rerouted to Almond Street. 

Phase two of the project has a heavy focus on reconstructing I-690 and travelers can expect many detours along the way. 

The New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner, Marie Therese Dominguez, Esq. believes this project is the right path toward a better future.

“We have a generational opportunity here and it’s really a once in a generation opportunity to reconnect the community here in Central New York,” she said.

The public comment period is running now through September 14.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area