January 11, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Presents 29th Proposal of 2017 State of the State: State Will Undertake New Independent Study to Carefully Study All Possible Options to Replace I-81 Viaduct in Central New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Presents 29th Proposal of 2017...

Options to Include Tunnel, Community Grid, Depressed Highway, Combination Community Grid/Tunnel or Combination Community Grid/Depressed Highway

The Feasibility Report Will Be Made Available to the Public Upon Completion 


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a study to determine the feasibility of tunnel options to replace the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. The I-81 viaduct is a vital transportation corridor but is nearing the end of its useful life, and concern over its replacement is growing. Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Transportation to engage an independent firm with international tunnel expertise to carefully study all possible replacement options, including a tunnel, community grid, depressed highway, combination community grid/tunnel or combination community grid/depressed highway. 


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"The economic resurgence of Central New York requires major infrastructure investments to support that growth for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "Cutting through the heart of downtown Syracuse, I-81 is long overdue for a complete revitalization, and we must carefully explore every option to ensure what is best for the economic vitality of the region. This project presents once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform an outdated, deteriorating highway into robust, efficient economic driver, and we must not let it go to waste."


Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Department of Transportation began a formal environmental review in August 2013 to determine the best alternative for construction. Following Governor Cuomo’s direction today, the New York State Department of Transportation will engage an independent expert with international tunnel expertise to conduct the study. 


The study will evaluate these options based on the following criteria, including but not limited to: purpose and need, constructability, property impacts, and cost. Upon completion of the independent review, the feasibility report will be made available to the public for review and comment. 


Across Central New York, Governor Cuomo is investing in major projects to improve the region, from a $10 million Erie Canal Heritage Park to a $30 million drones corridor. The aging I-81 viaduct, running through Syracuse's downtown, presents another opportunity for a transformative infrastructure investment to improve the region's vitality. 


State Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll said, “This project is an important part of Governor Cuomo’s transformational investments in the region and will shape the future of Syracuse. The department will begin to implement the Governor’s directive immediately and welcomes this additional review and will advance the replacement process.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office