Each week, I will break down parts of the AIACNY Urban Design Study of the 1-81 Project. Here is an opportunity for you to see, in a clear and concise fashion, how the decision that lies ahead could change the city for better or for worse.
Check out this regional map of all the interstates that run through Syracuse: I-81, I-90, I-690 and I-481. What happens if the the viaduct area is knocked down and replaced with an Almond Avenue street level alternative OR an I-81 extension that connects with I-481?
Right now, the current travel time off I-690 onto I-81 and through Syracuse is 3 minutes. If that section of highway is taken away and Almond Avenue is responsible for carrying that traffic through the city, the travel time will be 6.5 minutes. What’s worse? If the city reroutes I-81 as an extension via I-481, then the estimated travel time will increase to 11 minutes. That’s going around the city, around SU and back north again.
Our dilemma: Traveling 3.3 miles in 6.5 minutes or 10.5 miles in 11 minutes.
The existing structure simply can’t last forever and we probably aren’t going to get a tunnel or elevated highway again. These are the most likely options left.