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      Syracuse road construction season underway with Connective Corridor Phase 2

      Construction crews are making underground improvements along West Fayette Street. Connective Corridor Phase 2 construction will try to avoid total road closures to keep businesses happy

      Phase 2 of the Connective Corridor construction in Syracuse has started with detours around one block of West Fayette Street over Onondaga Creek, but the project's managers say no major detours or road closings are planned for this summer's work.

      Linda Hartsock, Director of the Connective Corridor Project for SU, says efforts are being made to keep business in the work zones as close to normal as possible, so sidewalks will always be open and at least one lane of roads will be open through construction season. Hartsock says there will never be street closures in the evenings or weekends in the Armory Square area.

      That's good news for the businesses in Armory Square, who'll be looking at their second summer of construction.Joel Shapiro, who owns Mr. Shop on West Fayette, says there will be plenty of parking and customers will be able to get to the area easily.

      The project is making an effort to keep businesses aware of construction plans. Jim Wefers, general manager at the Marriotts, hosts a weekly Monday morning meeting for area businesses, and every Friday the area's businesses get emails, advising construction plans for the next week.

      Several construction projects are going on at the same time: this Tuesday and Wednesday, crews are digging into West Fayette near the new Marriott Hotels, to install underground pipes that are part of Onondaga County's rainwater diversion project. In a couple weeks, they'll also begin the road and sidewalk rebuilds, with expectations that they'll complete the work from West Street to Salina Street (maybe State) this season. The City of Syracuse is also replacing ancient water lines under part of the roadway, in hopes of avoiding major breaks like the ones that have plagued the downtown area this winter. And, National Grid is doing major upgrades to the electrical system in the area.

      "West Fayetee Street hasn't been rebuilt since 1940," says Hartsock. "It's been 75 years, that's a long time." When it's done, it should look a lot like the already-completed work on East Genesee Street between 81 and the University area: more trees, bicycle lanes, syncronized traffic lights, and spruced up buildings along the corridor, as well.

      "Syracuse is an important part of, I think, everybody's life here," says Project Superintendent Wesley Hood, who works for Barrett Paving. "To have the opportunity to be involved with it, yeah, there's some pride."