Scoping Phase Proposed Alternatives


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Several alternatives were initially proposed by interested parties and officials in Albany to address this issue.  The final alternatives were chosen from the list of options below:

  • No-build: Build nothing, and execute all necessary construction repairs to simply maintain the infrastructure as is.

  • Risks: Ignoring the issue will not make it go away.  The environmental and economic studies are being conducted to choose an alternative option.

  • At-Grade Boulevard: Tear down the I-81 viaduct and replace it with a street-level boulevard, rerouting traffic onto I-481 (see map below), which loops to the east around the city.

  • Traffic pattern: Would serve as a six- or four-lane boulevard, potentially clogging traffic in Syracuse and making it significantly harder to get from one side of the city to the other. This route would no longer be an interstate highway.  If I-81 were rerouted to I-481, it would divert traffic away from the city, causing through-travelers to miss Syracuse altogether.  This would also have a negative environmental impact due to increased gas-usage and increased air pollution. Truckers would have to change their traffic patterns, choosing between a delayed route through the boulevard, an elongated route using the reroute to I-481, or diversion to other area roadways.

  • Repair/Rebuild: Repair and rebuild the roadway, keeping I-81 flowing as it does now through downtown Syracuse. These repairs could include visual improvements, an icon, and better connectivity.

  • Traffic pattern: Route would remain the same, with the viaduct allowing vehicles to move in and out of the city efficiently.

  • Depressed highway: Replace the viaduct with a depressed highway.

  • Tunnel: replacing the viaduct with a tunnel, or Tunnel-boulevard hybrid: Replace the viaduct with a tunnel and an at-grade boulevard.
  • Traffic pattern: Would maintain interstate traffic and speed through the city with ramps at crucial points along the tunnel to maintain connectivity, at the same time creating a street-level boulevard to facilitate intracity traffic.