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      Hole shuts down lane on 690 west at 81 north interchange

      A view of the hole in the highway from beneath the overpass / photo: Andy Wolf

      State transportation officials have shut down a lane on a Syracuse interstate highway after a large hole developed on a bridge carrying the road over a city street.

      "I'm concerned about the bridges," said Charles Akins. "That's pretty terrifying."

      Department of Transportation officials say the near 3-foot hole is in the bridge deck on the left lane on the westbound side of Interstate 690 near where it meets Interstate 81. Only I-690's right lane will be open to traffic for the next few days.

      Thousands of drivers take that route everyday through downtown Syracuse, which means traffic back-ups will be common through the holiday weekend while crews work to patch up the hole. DOT officials said they expect the left lane to be closed until July 5.

      "That concerns me big time," said Joanna Armstrong. "It will be an inconvenience."

      "I drive on that road often," said Bob Long. 'The infastructure in this entire country concerns me. It's costing us a lot of money."

      Gene Cilento with the NYS Department of Transportation said this spot of the bridge has been fixed before. He says the bridges are old and need work. "The bridges in the downtown interchange were built in the mid to late 1960's so they are approaching 40 years. We usually get 50 years out of a bridge," he said. Cilento also added that all the salt used during our harsh winters can take a toll on the roads.

      Right now, there is an extensive study being done on what to do with the elevated portion of 1-81 through the city, which is also nearing the end of it's useful life.

      The hole was reported to Onondaga County's 911 emergency dispatch around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. It is situated over the North Salina Street sidewalk which is also closed so debris doesn't fall on people walking under the bridge.

      Information from the Associated Press and NYS DOT was used in this report.