Independent I-81 project study shows ‘many negatives’ of community grid

A new study shows that a community grid replacement of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse would have dramatic negative impacts on the city and region

The Save 81 coalition, along with state Sen. John DeFrancisco and Assemblymen William Magnarelli and Gary Finch, announced today the findings of an independent study commissioned by Save 81 that digs into the state’s initial Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the I-81 project. The analysis, done by longtime state transportation and engineering expert John Shafer, was conducted after Save 81 obtained a copy of the DEIS through the Freedom of Information Law process.

The study concludes that “the community grid alternative should be dropped from further consideration.”

“Based on the discussion presented above, the DEIS, as it should, provides the analysis, data and impacts to conclude that this alternative has very few positives and many negatives,” Shafer’s study states.

Among those many negatives, the DEIS data show that 18 intersections in Syracuse, including those along the new community grid route, would be degraded to the worst possible levels of service, creating massive traffic headaches for those traveling into and beyond the downtown area.

At the same time, Shafer’s analysis found shortcomings of the DEIS.

“Several items were undervalued and not really considered accurately,” DeFrancisco told “If you put garbage in an analysis, you’re going to get garbage out.”

Shafer’s full analysis is below:

Spectra Interstate 81 Project Engineering Report by Save 81 on Scribd