I-81: Coalition to discuss parking; changes through Syracuse announced

Updated Jun 5, 2022
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One of the major north-south interstates in the easter U.S. is getting some much-needed attention.

A three-day discussion of truck parking along Interstate 81 is planned for later this month, and recently details of a major project to change part of the highway in Upstate New York were announced. 

The Federal Highway Administration and the I-81 Corridor Coalition host a virtual truck parking roundtable discussion June 22, 23 and 29. Truck drivers are urged to participate; there is no cost. 

The I-81 corridor coalition includes Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

Session one on June 22 is expected to cover tractor-trailer parking basics, parking conditions, issues and challenges and will define truck parking needs, according to a statement from the organization There will also be a Q&A session at the close of the first day.

Session two on June 23 is planned to look particularly at the commercial vehicle parking needs along Interstate 81 and identify possible truck parking solutions.

Session three on June 29 is scheduled to explore considerations for truck parking solutions, construct a truck parking program for the I-81 corridor and build a corridor-based program.

According to its website, “The mission of the I-81 Coalition Corridor is to improve the safety and efficiency of freight and passenger movement. This will allow lives to be saved, costs to be reduced, and economic development opportunities to be expanded.”

More information about the roundtable can be found on the I-81 Corridor Coalition website.

Solution for Syracuse area issues on I-81 announced

After several years of discussion and study, a plan to change I-81 in the area of Syracuse, New York is about to get under way.

The community grid to replace I-81 in Syracuse is "a go." A formal "record of decision" was filed (with the federal Department of Transportation) Tuesday, which is the final step in solidifying the so-called "community grid" alternative to I-81. At the heart of the change is the removal of the aging, elevated viaduct that carries traffic through Syracuse.

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Construction on the two-part, $2.25 billion project is expected to take six years to complete.

Phase 1 of the project will take three years to complete; I-81 through Syracuse will remain open the entire time. Phase 1 will include preparations on I-481, I-81 and I-690, but officials say they do not expect traffic to be disrupted. 

There is no official start date.

 The project will create a grid of surface streets in the city and reroute highway traffic onto I-481. It would also include an expansion of parts of I-481 and rebuilding a portion of I-690 near downtown.