Bound Volume Number
Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Hubert Brown
Prof. Randy Wenner
Broadcast and Digital Journalism
Interstate 81, 15th ward
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
“The I-81 Project: Then and Now” is a documentary regarding the history of Interstate 81 in Syracuse and the ongoing debate regarding the highway’s future in the city. Interstate 81 was built on top of the 15th ward, a neighborhood that was mostly demolished around the time the highway’s bridges were first built in the 1960s. Today, as these bridges reach the age of 50, the New York State Department of Transportation has decided that it is time to replace them. However, several different options are on the table for the new I-81 in Syracuse, including a boulevard replacing the bridges and turning Interstate 481 into the new I-81, building a tunnel underground near the location of the current bridges, constructing a depressed highway along the current viaduct, and rebuilding the bridges, which would need to be wider due to federal regulations. However, there are many factors to consider with each option, and the community remains divided as city residents, area suburbs, elected officials, businesses, and other groups hold varying opinions. Ultimately, there are so many competing interests, so the final decision most likely will not satisfy everyone. This is also due to the highway’s widespread impact on thousands of residents in Central New York as well as travelers through the region.
The documentary can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/ttcr26UJEh8
A corresponding website, including bonus scenes and more information, can be found here: https://kaeskow.expressions.syr.edu/i81project/
Eskow, Kristen, "“The I-81 Project: Then and Now” – A Documentary Tracing Interstate 81’s History and Potential Future in Syracuse" (2015). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 882.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.