Draft Environmental Impact Study Info


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The New York State Department Of Transportation (NYSDOT) currently is preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the various alternatives for rebuilding the existing Interstate 81 viaduct in Syracuse.

An original version of the DEIS completed in 2016 showed how detrimental a community grid would be to the city and the region, according to an independent analysis of the document. The DEIS is now being updated to reflect a tunnel option, at the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The DEIS will outline positive and negative environmental impacts of the alternatives that the DOT has deemed worthy of continued study. The analysis conducted during the DEIS phase will be used to compare the alternatives based on social, economic, and environmental considerations.

The DEIS also will assess whether the environmental impact of the proposed alternatives would be consistent with the National Environmental Quality Act and various other appropriate regulations and requirements. Any major highway project like I-81 is subject to several federal and state permits, approval and laws, including:

  • Clean Air Act
  • Eminent Domain Procedure Law
  • Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act
  • US Department of Transportation Act
  • Uniform Relocation and Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) must first approve the DEIS, after which the community will be notified of the draft’s availability through local newspapers and the Federal Register. The DEIS will be distributed to government agencies, posted on the DOT website, and made available at multiple locations and project document viewing sites throughout the Central New York region. The public will have 45 days to comment on the Draft EIS. A public hearing also will be held during this time.

Even as the DOT develops the DEIS, ongoing and consistent feedback from the public will be essential to making sure that the concerns and wishes of the public are addressed. You can learn more about how to speak out on this project here.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/j26/6381137451