Syracuse, N.Y. - The State Department of Transportation has announced its preference for the future of I-81.
Officials are supporting the community grid option to replace part of the aging highway. The nearly $2 billion project calls for a stretch of road that runs through downtown Syracuse to be demolished and traffic to be rerouted to Interstate 481.
It also creates a "business link" that will run as a highway where the highway is right now until it gets downtown. Almond Street will be the main road built to handle the traffic but many of the other roads nearby will also be revamped to handle the increased traffic.
"BL81" also calls for revamping the exits around Destiny USA to make it easier for drivers to get in and out.
The report also considered a variety of options including replacing the nearly 1.5 mile stretch with another viaduct or building a tunnel.
Several tunnel options were flatly rejected in the report. The viaduct was also rejected. The two options failed to establish as many connections between neighborhoods, business districts, and other key destinations as the grid.
Additional problems found with the tunnel were the exorbitant cost. To dig the tunnel and place a grid on top of it would have doubled the project's price tag. The tunnel options also did not maintain or enhance the vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle connections Downtown the same way that the grid does.