Experts share why they believe NY will tear down I-81, put traffic on Syracuse streets

Grant Cunningham
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another aging freeway may be headed for demolition as state officials in New York contemplate the future of Syracuse's Interstate 81. Nearing the end of its natural lifespan, I-81 is a physical and social barrier through Syracuse, and indicators statewide hint at its oncoming demise.

Charley Hannagan of Syracuse.com writes of the potential to remove this urban dysfunction, and restore Syracuse's natural streetscape. She writes:

The state Department of Transportation for three years has been collecting public opinions on what should be done to replace the aging, elevated Interstate 81 that divides Syracuse.The state has narrowed 16 options under consideration down to two: replace and widen the current elevated highway, or demolish it and send the traffic onto the city's street grid and around the city. A decision won't be made until 2017, but there are a number reasons to think the state will tear down the 1.4-mile elevated section that each day carries 90,000 vehicles.

Consider: 

  • In Rochester, Niagara Falls and the Bronx, the state's tearing down similar aging urban highways, sending traffic to city streets or other roads.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August called the I-81 elevated highway in Syracuse a "classic planning blunder." 
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx – who oversees the agency that will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of the project - has made removing highways to reopen divided neighborhoods a theme of his department.

For the full story, continue reading at Syracuse.com