CNY lawmakers to state: Keep I-81 in same general corridor through Syracuse area

David J. Valesky

February 10, 2014

By Teri Weaver |

January 30, 2014 at 7:37 AM, updated January 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Central New York's state lawmakers want any solution for Interstate 81 to travel along the same general path the aging highway occupies now, according to a letter sent in December to the state's top transportation official. 

The letter, dated Dec. 6, says that whether the state Department of Transportation recommends a tunnel, depressed highway or elevated highway to replace I-81, "the ultimate design must continue to include an interstate highway defined by federal highway standards, serving the same general corridor that Interstate 81 serves as the present time."

The letter was signed by Sens. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, and David Valesky, D-Oneida; and Assemblymen Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, Sam Roberts, D-Syracuse, Robert Oaks, R-Macedon, Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and Gary Finch, R-Springport. It was submitted to the state during an open comment period, one of several required as the massive project kicks off.

This morning, transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald will testify during a budget hearing in Albany. DeFrancisco co-chairs the joint committee overseeing the hearing; it's likely he and others will ask McDonald about the I-81 project.