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Maffei wants state DOT to provide more options for I-81 in downtown Syracuse

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — U.S. Representative Daniel Maffei (D–DeWitt) today called on the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to provide additional alternatives for the future of the elevated Interstate 81 (I-81) segment that runs through downtown Syracuse.


The two options NYSDOT presented last week are “insufficient” and Central New Yorkers deserve more alternatives, Maffei said during a morning news conference at Forman Park in Syracuse, where the elevated portion of the highway is visible.


Maffei has sent a letter to the NYSDOT, urging it to provide citizens with more than just two possible plans for I-81.


NYSDOT on May 21 held a forum in Syracuse to present its I-81 study as well as two options that it deemed feasible for the highway.


The first option called for the I-81 downtown segment being torn down and reconstructed into an elevated highway similar but larger than the existing structure to accommodate updated highway standards, Maffei’s office said in a news release.


The second option would also tear down the current structure, and, in its place, create a boulevard with stoplights and long crosswalks.


This is one of the “most important” decisions affecting the economic vitality of the region that will ever be made, the Democrat said in the news release.


“It’s a decision that needs to be made by citizens in Central New York, not officials in Albany or Washington,” Maffei added.




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