SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Driving in Downtown Syracuse these days is nothing short of a headache with construction spanning multiple streets and causing delays for neighbors and businesses.
All of the hold-up is thanks to two federally funded projects going on at the exact same time totaling nearly $14 million.
The City of Syracuse Chief Operating Officer, Corey Dunham, said one project focuses on improvements to State St. and S. Salina St. that started last year. The other project refers to their downtown paving project which impacts Clinton St., Montgomery St., Warren St., and Jefferson St.
Dunham said the project has taken a little bit longer than they expected, with some setbacks along the way, like the wrong asphalt being poured on a section of S. Salina St. that has since been fixed. The project is also taking longer than normal because the city is taking a “one dig” approach, repairing everything that needs to be fixed underground, like the water and sewer systems, before they pave over the road.
“Yes, it seems it certainly extends the timeline of the project, but we feel like when we are able to that that’s really the best value for taxpayers, for residents to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that we don’t have to tear into that brand-newly paved road,” Dunham said.
Downtown businesses are feeling the impact of the construction too.
Nicole Samolis, owner of SKY Armory and Epicuse Food Market & Bistro said foot traffic has been down for quite some time with some weeks better than others depending on where the construction is happening that week.
“Well it definitely impacts the foot traffic at Epicuse and any of the restaurants and retail on the street, we do see decreased traffic,” Samolis said.
As for frequent downtown visitors like Deb Carey, the construction has forced her to park farther away or find alternate routes.
“Even if you think you know a different route to come around it’s hard,” Carey said. “It’s hard to not get caught in the stop, start, move over here, sorry road closed kind of business.”
But Carey and Samolis are dealing with the short-term inconvenience because they believe the finished product will be well worth the wait.
“It’s just construction season, you gotta get it done and the end results gonna be amazing once it’s done,” Samolis said.
But for the time being, Dunham wants to remind neighbors that: “We’re almost done, we’re almost done and this is a short-term inconvenience, I understand it’s a significant one, but for a long-term benefit.”
The city is hoping to have both projects mostly finished by the end of 2021 and is urging people to give themselves a little extra time if they’re heading downtown.