The New York State Department of Transportation released its long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Interstate 81 last week. The 15,000-page document, which went public Monday, April 22, states that the DOT’s preferred option for replacing the deteriorating viaduct is a street-level community grid.
“Based on a balanced consideration of the need for safe and efficient transportation; the social, economic, and environmental effects of the project alternatives; and national, state, and local environmental protection goals, the Community Grid Alternative would be selected as the preferred alternative,” reads the executive summary of the report.
According to NYSDOT officials, the community grid plan will replace the 1.4-mile viaduct in the city of Syracuse with a “business loop” from the southern interchange at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. East (MLK, Jr. East, formerly East Castle Street) to the Interstate 690 interchange. The existing Interstate 481 will be re-designated as the new I-81 for through traffic.