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DeWitt town board passes resolution against redirecting I-81 traffic

— At its June 10 meeting, the DeWitt town board voted unanimously to pass a resolution which reinforces the idea of looking towards other options for the I-81 project instead of redirecting traffic east of the city of Syracuse on I-481. In May, state officials said they had narrowed the "feasible" choices for the interstate to either rebuilding the bridge that runs through Syracuse or replacing it with a street-level boulevard, similar to Erie Boulevard, and rerouting highway traffic around the city.

“It will absolutely have a negative effect on the quality of life in Jamesville, East Syracuse and DeWitt – all three have exits on 481,” said town of DeWitt deputy mayor Kerry Mannion. “All it’s going to do is increase the traffic in those communities. And we already have a lot of traffic in all three communities – we don’t want more. There’s no reason for there to be more.”

In the resolution, the town listed extra pollution to the environment, unnecessary wear-and-tear to the roads and increases in traffic as reasons why redirecting traffic to 481 would be detrimental to the town.

“The main concern really is the increase in traffic,” Mannion said. “We have a seven lane highway in front of Wegmans right now and the traffic there is already very congested at several times during the day and all the traffic diverted to 481 is going to find its way to East Genesee Street and it’s really going to create an issue for the residents of DeWitt and everyone traveling through.”

Mannion, who has attended several of Senator John DeFrancisco’s meetings regarding the changes to I-81, believes there should be an alternative to the two options announced by state officials last month. He said that a boulevard would not only be bad for the town of DeWitt, but it would negatively impact the entire Central New York community.

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