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Author Topic: Interstate 81 in Syracuse  (Read 50259 times)

froggie

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #500 on: May 15, 2019, 07:20:17 PM »

Quote from: signalman
Bottom line is that people want nice things, but no one wants to pay for them.

This.  A thousand times this.  And this is in no small part why we're in this infrastructure mess.
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Duke87

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #501 on: May 15, 2019, 07:30:26 PM »

But what, exactly, establishes a prevailing wage?

It's based on surveys of workers in individual trades and what they're getting paid - the "prevailing" wage is defined as what the majority of workers in the given trade make per hour in the given area. If no single rate is the majority, then the prevailing wage is defined as the average wage for the given trade in the given area.

What this effectively does is, if the majority of workers in the given trade in the given area are unionized, you are required to pay your workers at the standard union pay rate on this job even if the workers you've hired are non-union and would otherwise be paid less.

If unions are not prevalent in the given area, then all it really does is say you can't pay your workers below average, and the impact it has on labor costs will be fairly minimal.

Quote
My argument is that there are really only two places where project costs can be controlled, labor costs and corporate profits. Material costs are pretty much going to remain the same no matter which contractor gets the job. Even with labor costs set by law, it's sometimes amazing how much difference there can be in project bids.

There's another variable here that is important not to neglect - labor costs are not set by law, hourly labor rates are. You can still reduce costs if you are able to successfully complete the job using fewer man-hours of labor. I can tell you that in New York there is a lot of unrealized opportunity to do this because of arcane union work rules (set by collective bargaining agreement, not by law) that end up requiring more workers to be present on a jobsite than are actually necessary.

Well, to put things in perspective:

Eventually, the two unions worked out a deal in which the dockbuilders, who earn $92.47 an hour in wages and benefits, would be assigned the work.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/tappan-zee-bridge/2015/10/23/tappan-zee-builder-wins-again-union-wage-dispute/74454228/

Emphasis on "wages and benefits" - that figure includes the cost of things like health and dental insurance, disability insurance, vacation time, paid family leave, as well as the cost of any pension or retirement plan the workers have.

What they're actually getting paid in wages alone is probably half of that figure, so say $46.23 per hour. Which works out to about $96k a year with no overtime. This may sound like a lot but with what the cost of living is in downstate NY, it really isn't.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 07:38:03 PM by Duke87 »
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #502 on: May 15, 2019, 11:26:08 PM »

Alt. 3 would be very similar to the $240 million I-895 Canton Viaduct replacement under construction in Baltimore which is also 0.9 miles and with 4 lanes and full right shoulders, plus in a northern unionized city where the construction costs should be fairly similar.
It doesn't have 6 lanes over the majority of it - it's 6 to exit 18, 4 within exit 18 (where the majority of the viaduct is), and then you're in the I-690 interchange.  I-81 south even goes down to one lane just past the ramp from I-690 east.

True, I see that the northern end of about 0.3 mile has 2 lanes each way with minimal shoulders.

The I-895 Canton Viaduct replacement will have 2 lanes each way and full right shoulders.
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RobbieL2415

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #503 on: May 16, 2019, 03:58:18 PM »

At the rate everything is going the solution will be "tear the Viaduct down and do nothing else. Route I-81 around Syracuse". The city will be stuck with a giant strip of land devoid of anything because no one is willing to compromise.  That is what NIMBY'S deserve.
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kalvado

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #504 on: May 16, 2019, 05:01:10 PM »

At the rate everything is going the solution will be "tear the Viaduct down and do nothing else. Route I-81 around Syracuse". The city will be stuck with a giant strip of land devoid of anything because no one is willing to compromise.  That is what NIMBY'S deserve.
Don't think so. When - or if - NYSDOT starts the job, things will go reasonably. It is about getting the project going before viaduct collapses.
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #505 on: May 16, 2019, 07:24:54 PM »

At the rate everything is going the solution will be "tear the Viaduct down and do nothing else. Route I-81 around Syracuse". The city will be stuck with a giant strip of land devoid of anything because no one is willing to compromise.  That is what NIMBY'S deserve.

So $1.9 billion for the project that will tear a major chunk out of the freeway system, and $2.2 billion for the project that would provide the replacement of the freeway bridges and the improvement of the I-81/I-690 interchange area?   So seppuku costs 14% less than the full modernization... it's cheaper to commit seppuku.
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sprjus4

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #506 on: May 16, 2019, 08:41:54 PM »

At the rate everything is going the solution will be "tear the Viaduct down and do nothing else. Route I-81 around Syracuse". The city will be stuck with a giant strip of land devoid of anything because no one is willing to compromise.  That is what NIMBY'S deserve.

So $1.9 billion for the project that will tear a major chunk out of the freeway system, and $2.2 billion for the project that would provide the replacement of the freeway bridges and the improvement of the I-81/I-690 interchange area?   So seppuku costs 14% less than the full modernization... it's cheaper to commit seppuku.
NYSDOT is cowering to the NIMBY and not seeing sense.

Foolish of them.

Biggest waste of taxpayer money, or any money for that sense.

If a community grid was 90% cheaper, I could see it. But $1.9 billion is a lot of money for.... nothing. $2.2 billion would keep a high-capacity, high-speed urban freeway in place, replace it and make it safer, wider, and more reliable, and provide traffic improvements with a major interchange reconstruction.
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #507 on: May 16, 2019, 09:14:29 PM »

NYSDOT is cowering to the NIMBY and not seeing sense.
Foolish of them.
Biggest waste of taxpayer money, or any money for that sense.
If a community grid was 90% cheaper, I could see it. But $1.9 billion is a lot of money for.... nothing. $2.2 billion would keep a high-capacity, high-speed urban freeway in place, replace it and make it safer, wider, and more reliable, and provide traffic improvements with a major interchange reconstruction.

Like they say a billion dollars is not what it used to be, due to years and years of cost inflation, but it is still a big chunk of change.

$1.9 billion was 50% of the cost of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, and that certainly was a needed replacement that was much wider.

Where are the "Taxpayers for Common Sense" when you need them?
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Mccojm

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #508 on: May 22, 2019, 02:14:38 PM »

Main Office will probably make the call.  At the very least, Region 7 will also be affected, and I don't think the regions have the authority to change an existing road from sequential to mile-based numbers anyways.  I think I heard from someone that, were it up to the Regions, Upstate NY (minus the Thruway) would have switched to mile-based exit numbers years if not decades ago.

What about Long Island? seems like down here is going to be the last part of the state to switch to mileage exits. We still dont have proper mile markers like the rest of the state.

I always wondered why we don’t and if we ever will have proper mile post signs on our highways on Long Island. Reference markers don’t mean anything to general public and the system in itself used by DOT is shady when many are missing, damaged, overgrown by brush. If we had proper mike posts it would be so much easier for all and for us who need to reference a point on roads whether for construction reports or maintenance work or project planning.
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seicer

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #509 on: July 30, 2019, 02:45:05 PM »

A great piece about the I-81 project in Syracuse - the highway that was supposed to save the city, can tearing it down fix the sins of the past? (It's by Jalopnik, an auto-centered site.)

The Highway Was Supposed to Save This City. Can Tearing It Down Fix the Sins of the Past?
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webny99

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #510 on: July 30, 2019, 03:09:23 PM »

You're right, that is a great piece. I don't necessarily agree with everything in it, particularly the inference that all opponents of the grid are inherently racist, but it is a really good overview of the fundamentals at play with this project, whatever happens.
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Duke87

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #511 on: August 02, 2019, 05:38:30 PM »

Quote
“The removal of the highway has the potential to essentially repeat the same outcomes that the construction of the highways had,” Crowther said. The viaduct has acted as a border that prevented the more gradual flow of economic opportunity seeping outwards from the university, downtown, and hospitals in recent years. Once that barrier is removed, residents expect it to cause a shockwave of higher property taxes and rising rents, which current residents are unlikely to be able to afford.

And this is someone from the Congress for New Urbanism talking!

This is one of the exact points I keep making about these types of projects - yes, the placement of the viaduct when it was first built had some absolutely racist motives, it was deliberately routed to destroy the local black neighborhood. But this is not a reversible process; tearing the viaduct down will not restore the neighborhood to as it was 60 years ago before it was built, if anything it will only be followed by a wave of gentrification that will once more result in low-income black families being displaced from their homes.

If anything, a viaduct teardown repeats the sins of the past as far as racial justice goes.
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bemybear

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #512 on: August 20, 2019, 12:50:29 PM »

I'm new to Rochester NY but previously lived in Scranton PA, Memphis and Nashville TN, suburban Chicago, San Francisco CA and various places in Oregon.  So I'm not in Syracuse a ton but I've both visited as a tourist and driven through at least 10 times.

I normally have a knee jerk reaction to tearing down limited access structures and replacing them with a surface street but in this case I don't think I-81 through Syracuse is such a loss.

First, several of the existing sections of I-81 in Syracuse are lousy with zero useful shoulder and no easy way to upgrade since they are elevated and surrounded by stuff.  The I-81 north to I-690 west split is nerve wracking and not well suited for large vehicles, people not familiar with the area etc and ends in a left merge.

Secondly, Syracuse isn't a hot bed of traffic in general and has a lovely modern I-481 that will serve very well for people who are trying to get AROUND Syrcause not go to/through it.  I looked at the maps just now and wish I'd known that there was an I-481 to I-690 junction.  When driving on I-81 all the signs for the Thruway West direct you to stay on I-81 which I can see is shorter but I wonder if the time difference would even be measured in minutes compared with the better flowing I-481.

Lastly, Syracuse is a dumpster fire of awful and when we stayed at the very nice Hotel Skyler near the University and walked to and from downtown multiple times, it seemed undeniable that I-81 and the surface street (or series of off-ramps?) that are under the I-81 bridge near Harrison street are really horrendous impediments to making what should be a contiguous block of similarly conveniently located land seem like 2 islands (university area and downtown).  Anti highway people often say highways are scars that destroy neighborhoods and in THIS case I think it is very clearly an issue.

While not as separated as I-90 is from Rochester, I think having the mainline interstate not go through downtown Syracuse will be a win for both locals (who currently have a big gash through downtown) and long distance drivers who are currently traversing a sub standard narrow piece of freeway intermingled with a lot of locals who do lots of typical city driving shenanigans to cope with what must seem like annoying slow people passing through.
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vdeane

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #513 on: August 20, 2019, 08:43:49 PM »

I just did some Google directions from LaFayette (I-81 exit 15) to Weedsport (I-90 exit 40) to compare times.  I-81/I-690/I-90 and I-81/I-90 are both 39 minutes, while I-81/I-481/I-90 and I-81/I-481/I-690/I-90 are 46 (the last one is also the only one to require more than one shaping point).  Of course, in addition to time, there's also the principle of replacing what used to be 3 miles with 12 miles, and the fact that there will no longer be a good all-freeway route for trips from the western suburbs to/from points south or points south to/from the Fair or the northern Finger Lakes (I'm also the person who selects apartments based on how many trips in the metro area can be made with the freeway system (excluding the Thruway, which in my mind is mainly for long-distance travel, going to Canandaigua Lake, or Schenectady) as a backbone).

I'm not sure I'd really call I-481 "better flowing".  While it avoids the I-81/I-690 junction, it's mostly a 4-lane interstate with (IMO) a borderline need of a widening (and not so borderline between I-690 and I-90).  Traffic mostly flows below the speed limit on the times I've used it.  It's also less interesting than I-81, though I'm the type of person who prefers to drive through cities rather than around them if it doesn't take me out of my way and traffic isn't too congested.

I've never understood what's so "dividing" about I-81.  What's under it is a surface street... why is it more difficult to cross than any other surface street?  It's a viaduct you can walk under just fine, not a wall.  I find waiting at all the traffic lights at every single intersection (and getting asked for money from homeless people nearly every single time I've been in downtown Syracuse) to be a greater annoyance.
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bemybear

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #514 on: August 21, 2019, 01:12:00 PM »

vdeane....

I'm sure everybody has different levels of comfort and tolerance but I would honestly consider walking down Harrison under I-81 (the bridge made a lot of loud clunking noises and seemed very dark) as quite an off putting experience.  Plus more than one of the times we were walking through there people were honking at each other over some conflict about lanes under the bridge.  Given that the bridge itself isn't in great shape and some work seems inevitable, I think opting to eliminate it isn't crazy sounding at all.  Hopefully the street replacement is intelligently designed. A few miles of well done surface road don't have to be a huge back step in terms of transportation for those vehicles that need or choose to use it.  I think of even very homely US-11 from the I-81 split near Avoca to downtown Scranton.  Not an amazingly fast road but hardly a traffic snarled disaster and that road is basically just whatever evolved over the years, not obviously planed or optimized in any way.
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vdeane

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #515 on: August 21, 2019, 01:48:26 PM »

Is it odd to actually like the sound of cars driving over expansion joints?

I would think lighting (similar to what was done in Schenctady) would be a possible solution if darkness is an issue.  And I'm sure a narrow four-lane surface street (like what is proposed for an I-81 tear-down) would be no less honk-prone than what's currently there.

Here's all the alternatives that were evaluated: https://www.dot.ny.gov/i81opportunities/alternatives

I'm also not a fan of removing even the part that would stay a freeway from the interstate system and replacing it with a business loop.  I'm not even a fan of interstate business routes, period, for that matter.

More information (including detailed maps): https://www.dot.ny.gov/i81opportunities/repository/03%20Alternatives_04-19-2019.pdf

Note that the "community grid" won't have direct connections to/from I-690, so even if you don't mind the traffic lights that will be on the existing route, you'll still have to take I-481 or leave the state system.

(personal opinion)
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kalvado

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #516 on: August 21, 2019, 02:11:56 PM »

vdeane....

I'm sure everybody has different levels of comfort and tolerance but I would honestly consider walking down Harrison under I-81 (the bridge made a lot of loud clunking noises and seemed very dark) as quite an off putting experience.  Plus more than one of the times we were walking through there people were honking at each other over some conflict about lanes under the bridge.  Given that the bridge itself isn't in great shape and some work seems inevitable, I think opting to eliminate it isn't crazy sounding at all.  Hopefully the street replacement is intelligently designed. A few miles of well done surface road don't have to be a huge back step in terms of transportation for those vehicles that need or choose to use it.  I think of even very homely US-11 from the I-81 split near Avoca to downtown Scranton.  Not an amazingly fast road but hardly a traffic snarled disaster and that road is basically just whatever evolved over the years, not obviously planed or optimized in any way.
Is there enough ROW to do street replacement [which] is intelligently designed in the downtown?
For example, US11 in the area of proposed I-81 removal is a 2-lane street with - just looking at a random spot -  an overpass where squeezing third lane will be difficult. That is to replace 6-lane highway?
https://www.google.com/maps/@43.0394563,-76.1475086,3a,87.3y,201.09h,94.28t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1swHkiKCweGjlF6wn7kzd9wg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
And this is about NYSDOT, you know...
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Michael

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #517 on: September 11, 2019, 08:29:01 PM »

I found something interesting on Reddit last night.  A commenter on a thread linking to Jalopnik's I-81 article on r/Syracuse (the same article linked upthread) claimed that Save 81 is backed by Pyramid.  When someone asked for proof, a third person linked to the WHOIS data for savei81.org, and sure enough, it's registered to Pyramid Companies.

EDIT: I just saw a Syracuse.com article about the domain registration.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 08:34:59 PM by Michael »
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seicer

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #518 on: September 12, 2019, 07:21:47 AM »

Shocker. Pyramid is just an unreputable company, asking for generous tax breaks and credits and causing several malls in Syracuse to die. And several of their former malls were left to languish and die.

The new I-81 route, no matter where it ends up, needs to be designed to serve the residents of Syracuse, not business interests. The decision (?) was made to route I-81 along the bypass which ultimately benefits central Syracuse residents and rights the wrongs of the past, but ultimately hurts Pyramid, which I have little sympathy for. Judging from comments on prior articles about Pyramid, I think a lot of locals agree.
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kalvado

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #519 on: September 12, 2019, 08:47:30 AM »

Shocker. Pyramid is just an unreputable company, asking for generous tax breaks and credits and causing several malls in Syracuse to die. And several of their former malls were left to languish and die.

The new I-81 route, no matter where it ends up, needs to be designed to serve the residents of Syracuse, not business interests. The decision (?) was made to route I-81 along the bypass which ultimately benefits central Syracuse residents and rights the wrongs of the past, but ultimately hurts Pyramid, which I have little sympathy for. Judging from comments on prior articles about Pyramid, I think a lot of locals agree.
Glass can be half-full or half empty. You may dislike the mall, but it is a part of the regional economy, and as such has to be considered as integral part of the situation. Would the city be better off if the mall starts downsizing?
One thing to keep in mind - Upstate NY is planning for the decline. Syracuse lost 15% of the population over the past 25 years, and I don't see a way for things to go better. Mall - which is actually very big for the area - attracts a lot of money, including shoppers from out of area, and likely Canada. Loss of mall revenue - including taxes and jobs - is not something that is going to help the city.
Of course, Canada or Rochester traffic to the mall is not affected by reroute; but southern suburbs and Cornell (out of state money!) are. Well, Amazon is there to pick up the slack, after all.
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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #520 on: September 12, 2019, 10:06:15 AM »

The upside to this is that what is now I-481 is already available for a potential I-81 reroute, and that there wouldn't be much difference in its overall length (11.18 miles in its current form, and 15.08 as proposed). I'm just hoping we don't get another Greensboro situation, where residents were complaining about I-40 when it was rerouted, and that ultimately forced it to return to its former route.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #521 on: September 12, 2019, 02:10:03 PM »

If Interstate 481 becomes 81, I assume NY 481 would retain its existing designation since there is already a NY 81 between Rensselaerville and Coxsackie.
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ixnay

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #522 on: September 12, 2019, 03:59:57 PM »

Of course, Canada or Rochester traffic to the mall is not affected by reroute; but southern suburbs and Cornell (out of state money!) are. Well, Amazon is there to pick up the slack, after all.

Amazon has a major Syracuse presence?  Where?

ixnay
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kalvado

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #523 on: September 12, 2019, 04:59:31 PM »

Of course, Canada or Rochester traffic to the mall is not affected by reroute; but southern suburbs and Cornell (out of state money!) are. Well, Amazon is there to pick up the slack, after all.

Amazon has a major Syracuse presence?  Where?

ixnay
http://amazon.com
Check it out, if you didn't yet - they sell anything you may ever need!
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sprjus4

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Re: Interstate 81 in Syracuse
« Reply #524 on: September 12, 2019, 05:38:05 PM »

I'm just hoping we don't get another Greensboro situation, where residents were complaining about I-40 when it was rerouted, and that ultimately forced it to return to its former route.
When they tear I-81 down and see how crappy a community grid is, they'll call for the state to undo the $2 billion project and build a new viaduct!

Or better yet, in 15-20 years they'll begin an EIS for a new elevated freeway through Syracuse to relieve newly created traffic issues.
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