Neighbors react to depressed option for I-81

I-81 meeting in Syracuse.


81 through the north side of Syracuse has always been a depressed or sunken highway. It sits just below grade level and bridges cross over it. Could this type of highway be an example for the new 81?

Erin Smith is aware of how big this decision on 81 will be. "It's a huge deal, it's gonna have an impact on the community for the next 40 or 50 years," says Smith.

Due to a looming decision about I-81, many neighbors came to voice their opinions and concerns about how they feel 81 should fit into their community on the south side of the city.

After hearing about a depressed highway option with bridges crossing over the top from State Senator John DeFrancisco, many neighbors feel this idea would benefit their city.

Julio Urutia came to the meeting from his home in Onondaga. "Well there's a high incidence of asthma in the community around 81. All those fumes are going and hanging out right there, so maybe having it underground with the proper construction and ventilation would improve air quality in the community," says Urutia.

David Pasinski lives in Fayetteville. "I can think of places in Boston for example. A city that has that kind of arrangement. It seems like in the city area, I assume it's worked pretty well there. They deal with I-90 there and the access right through the city," says Pasinski.

Other neighbors here are less positive about a depressed highway option, they say it could lead to problems which are too expensive to fix.

Arleen Fordock is against the depressed option. "Because we have sink holes in the city of Syracuse periodically and so many in one week that I think there was 11 in 24 hours. It is not safe to dig down farther because the pipes and the utilities are going to be effected, it's a big expense," says Fordock.

An option which will factor into a decision which will be made by the summer of 2015.