Cuomo puts I-81 tunnel option back on table

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today in his State of the State address that a tunnel option for Interstate 81 in Syracuse will be studied as part of the state’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement process.

“The addition of a tunnel alternative for the I-81 Viaduct Project would provide an opportunity to fully evaluate and allow public comments on all three alternatives as this critical project progresses through the state and federal environmental review and approval process,” the governor’s 2018 agenda states.

The Save 81 coalition has been a major proponent of a hybrid tunnel option that incorporates both elements, particularly as state leaders seek regional consensus on the best path forward for the Interstate 81 project.

A tunnel would satisfy the need to maintain a high-speed route through Syracuse. Such a route allows travelers to efficiently reach destinations to the north and south of the downtown area. At the same time, new city streets would appease those who have sought a “community grid” option to replace Interstate 81.

An independent analysis of state data has shown that a community grid alone, without maintaining a high-speed option, would be detrimental to Syracuse and Central New York.