Drivers brace for headache from I-81 construction

Until August 5th, drivers will have to maneuver around construction as crews replace bridge decks over East Castle Street and East Calthrop Avenue in Syracuse.

The Department of Transportation recommends drivers heading south from the intersection with 481 and farther north should take 481, or 481 and 690 if heading into Syracuse.

Drivers farther south can take I-81 into Syracuse, but must get off at the Adams Street/Harrison Street exit or sooner.

Many drivers say the construction project is unwelcome. "I hate it," said Diann Green of Cicero. "It's just confusion, and I hate when they work on the highway. Period."

"Cuts off some of the traffic that flows into the city, "said Kathy Hodge-Davis, a lifelong resident of Syracuse. "So probably the businesses will suffer a little bit. But construction in the City of Syracuse seems to happen at the wrong time."

Some see the construction as a good idea. "I believe that they should fix the bridge," said Paul Fisher of Liverpool. "I don't like the idea of taking it down. And I think if they could just put more people to work this way, you know, help the economy a little bit."

Other drivers see the construction as a precursor to the I-81 construction they'll be facing when the road reaches the end of its lifespan in Syracuse.

"I think it's gonna be chaos for awhile," said Anthony Davis of Syracuse. "It's gonna be hard to get around. One reason I really love Syracuse is because it's not a real big city-type atmosphere, so you get where you need to go rather quickly. You start doing all the construction now, and you gotta wait for everything. It's difficult."

Work on the northbound side of I-81 is expected to last from August 9-19.