Outreach centers open for I-81 viaduct project in Syracuse

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Job Seekers looking to work on the I-81 viaduct construction project can get information at two new community outreach centers now open in Syracuse.

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.

The centers will also provide opportunities to talk with project team members, view renderings and other design materials related to the project.

“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,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “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 tomorrow:

  • 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.

Job seekers can 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.

“Breaking ground last month on the Interstate 81 Project was a victory for the people of Syracuse and all of Central New York,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “Providing continued community engagement and public information is a crucial component to the transformational project, and the new I-81 Outreach Center in the City of Syracuse will play an important role in making that happen.

“Those most affected by the harmful impact of the 81 viaduct, will have resources available to ask questions, provide input and have first-hand access to plans, timelines and traffic patterns as we work together over the coming years.”

Through the construction of the Community Grid, the $32.8 billion project aims to reverse the 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.

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