Interstate 81 serves as a vital backbone for the Syracuse economy and plays an important role in the Central New York region’s public safety and accessibility. However, portions of I-81 are nearing the end of their useful life and must be either repaired or replaced over the next several years. This includes a 1.4-mile stretch of I-81 built on an elevated roadway, also known as a viaduct, that runs through Syracuse’s Central Business District. This project is attracting scrutiny because some of the ideas being proposed would drastically change traffic patterns in a way that could irreparably harm the area’s economy and accessibility.
One of the ideas on the table is a plan to replace I-81 in Syracuse with a boulevard and divert I-81 traffic around the City. This plan could have profound negative consequences on the entire Central New York region. This plan, which would reroute I-81 around the city, could harm the region’s economy and public safety while also clogging traffic in Syracuse, which today is known as a “20-minute city”– where you can get anywhere in a short period of time. Numerous hotels, restaurants, gas stations and small businesses would now face a substantial loss of visitors and revenue if I-81 traffic were to be diverted away from the city. Rerouted traffic running through the surrounding communities would also create environmental and infrastructure concerns.
The Save 81 Coalition
Save81.org is a diverse coalition of concerned citizens, elected officials, residents, employers, union members, and community groups that opposes this boulevard option. We believe that any plan to rehabilitate the aging portions of Interstate 81 in our region must keep I-81 flowing through Downtown Syracuse as an interstate highway, either via a tunnel, an elevated highway, or even an idea that has yet to be proposed. We want state officials in Albany to keep all of these options on the table.
The time is now to educate yourself on the I-81 issue and the various options at hand. As residents of Greater Syracuse we have the opportunity to control our own future. Sign our petition and join us in our efforts to protect the future of Syracuse by becoming a part of the campaign to save I-81.