On Monday, the State Department of Transportation announced that it favors the Community Grid option for the Interstate 81 replacement.
- The Community Grid Alternative would demolish the existing I-81 viaduct, which would be decommissioned as an interstate, and make improvements to I-481, which would be re-designated as I-81. Almond Street would be reconstructed as a surface street, with bicycle/pedestrian amenities and potential for urban design/aesthetic treatments.
- The Community Grid Alternative would disperse traffic throughout the city grid by promoting broader use of the existing street network. North-south vehicular traffic would be channeled through Almond Street and along parallel corridors, such as Crouse Avenue, Irving Avenue, State Street, and Townsend Street. East-west traffic routes would include Erie Boulevard, Harrison Street, and Adams Street.
- The Community Grid Alternative includes creation of a new access point at MLK, Jr. East that would improve access to the Southside and University Hill from the south; alleviate congestion at Adams, Harrison, and Almond Streets; reduce the number of lanes needed on those streets; and improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. To provide a more direct connection to University Hill from I-690 and optimize the use of the city street grid, a full interchange would be constructed at Crouse and Irving Avenues.
- The Community Grid, includes reconstruction of the I-81/I-690 interchange to provide connections in all directions, interchange modifications, bridge replacements, and other features, as described in Common Features below.
- The estimated cost of the Community Grid Alternative, which includes preliminary property acquisition costs, is $1.3 billion.