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Governor Hochul Announces Official Opening of Community Outreach Centers for I-81 Viaduct Project in Syracuse

I-81 Outreach Center

Pastor Decarto Draper of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church says ,“We are appreciative of our partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation that is providing hope, healing and help to the community that many feel are decimated, deprived, damaged, and dysfunctional …”

Southside and Downtown Locations Offer Easy-to-Reach Opportunities to Engage with Project Team Members and View Design Materials

Information Available for Job Seekers Looking to Work on Transformational Project

On August 16th Governor Kathy Hochul announced the opening of two community outreach centers to provide information and receive feedback about the transformative Interstate 81 Viaduct Project in the City of Syracuse. As part of the New York State Department of Transportation’s continuing effort to work hand-in-hand with community stakeholders, the two centers are conveniently located in areas within the city that will be significantly impacted by the project and will offer the public the opportunity to meet and talk with project team members, as well as view renderings and other design materials related to the project. Information for job seekers looking to work on this historic project will also be available.

I 81 Community Grid Alternative Final Report April 2022

“Today marks an important milestone for the Interstate 81 Viaduct Project as we take our community engagement efforts to the heart of the City of Syracuse,”Governor Hochul said. “These outreach centers give us the opportunity to not only meet with the public face-to-face but also provide information for job seekers looking to work on this historic infrastructure project. We are proud to partner with the community on this effort, and I encourage residents to visit us at our outreach centers in the comfort of their own neighborhoods to make sure we can incorporate feedback from those who know their community best.” 

The outreach centers are located at the following locations and will have the following hours, beginning August 17th:

  • Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, 515 Oakwood Avenue, Syracuse. Open Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Hills Building (first floor), 217 Montgomery Street, Syracuse. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tucker MBC
Tucker MBC

The public is encouraged to visit both offices to get project information, ask questions and participate in the continued effort to collect community input. Job seekers looking to work on the I-81 Viaduct Project can visit these new outreach centers to connect with employment groups who have joined in alliance with NYSDOT on this project including Pathways to Apprenticeship, WorkSmartNY Syracuse Build, CNY Works, and New York State Department of Labor’s Workforce Forward: Syracuse, to recruit and train those who are interested.

Grassroots efforts led by community partner Urban Jobs Task Force, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, the City of Syracuse and NYSDOT, helped secure one of the first local-hire provisions approved under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to incentivize hiring local residents from zip codes in disadvantaged neighborhoods at a prevailing wage.

According to Assemblymember Pamela Hunter,“The reconstruction of the I-81 Viaduct into a community grid is a direct result of community engagement and input. In order to continue to facilitate community input, it only makes sense to have dedicated locations for community outreach centers. As this project commences, I look forward to further collaboration with Governor Hochul to ensure that the construction and final results have community input every step of the way.”

Rev. DeCarto Draper
Rev. DeCarto Draper

Pastor Decarto Draper of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church said,“We are appreciative of our partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation that is providing hope, healing and help to the community that many feel are decimated, deprived, damaged, and dysfunctional. This relationship shows that New York State and its leadership are committed to enhance the life and legacies of all citizens and communities! What a blessing to work with this fine group of leaders.”

The innovative I-81 Viaduct Project is part of Governor Hochul’s unprecedented commitment to modernize New York State’s infrastructure and invest in projects that promote equity, connectivity, and multi-modal transportation opportunities for communities across the state in partnership with the federal government. The $32.8 billion State Capital Plan adopted in 2022 helps fulfill the governor’s vision for a modern transportation system that serves New Yorkers across the state, and the I-81 Viaduct Project will be funded with a mix of federal and state resources. Since the beginning of her time in office, Governor Hochul has made reconnecting communities through infrastructure a hallmark of her Administration, with more than $3 billion allocated in the Department of Transportation’s capital plan to transform such areas in East Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and the South Bronx. 

Through the construction of the Community Grid, the project aims to reverse the ill-considered decision made in the 1950s to build the viaduct through the heart of Syracuse. The Community Grid will reconnect neighborhoods, enhance mobility and improve access to and from the interstate highway network and key destinations, including the downtown business districts, area hospitals and Syracuse University. It will also provide safe and ADA accessible pedestrian and bicycle amenities throughout the project area.

  • Major construction is now underway on the first of multiple contracts planned for the project. Work on Contract 1 consists of reconstructing the existing Interstate 481/I-81 northern interchange to the re-designated I-81 and Business Loop 81, while also converting portions of I-481 to the new I-81 and making several road and bridge improvements along the corridor.
  • Contract 2, awarded last month, will begin the conversion of the southern interchange of I-481/I-81. Together these two contracts are essential to maintaining a high-speed interstate connection with national and international north-south trade routes from Tennessee to the Canadian border.

Information about the project can be found on the project website at I81.dot.ny.gov.

Aformentioned information was provided by Gov. Kathy Hochul, Office of the Governor.

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