While Virginia Greiman gave her insight on the realities of Megaprojects, Lawrence Diamond-Walls and Martha Chavisbonner listened to every word. The wanted to learn all they could on the future of I-81.
"We would definitely want to hear from people who have been in positions where they've had the choices come about, as we are," says Diamond-Walls.
In addition to what it could mean for their apartment complex on the city's southside, right next to the elevated section.
"They're really worried that what goes through, that they're going to lose their homes," says Chavisbonner.
Greiman worked on Boston's Big Dig and sees many similarities between Boston before they put in a tunnel and where I-81 is right now.
"We had great structural concerns, but it also divided our city. The communities felt very very isolated," says Greiman.
Boston had a viaduct going over the city, just like the elevated section of I-81 next to Syracuse University. Greiman says the key to making such a large transition is to meet with stakeholders and to take time to make sure problems such as inadequate funding or a changed public opinion can be avoided. In Boston, the planning process alone took nearly 10 years.
"You have to think about the future not just your immediate short term goal, of correcting and fixing your infrastructure problem, but what do you want your city to look like in the future?" says Greiman.
After hearing the publics input, DOT is putting together 16 different options for the future of I-81. They will meet with various stakeholder groups starting next week. A public forum will be held at the Everson Museum of Art on Thursday, May 1st. There will be three meetings at 4 pm, 6 pm and 7:30 pm.