Syracuse Highways: A Brief Historical Overview
Planning studies for the arterial roadway network in and around
Syracuse started in 1942, when the New York State Legislature
authorized construction of the Thruway. By 1947, the New York State
Department of Public Works, predecessor of the Department of
Transportation, issued a report on existing and proposed arterial routes
in the Syracuse urban area. This report included recommendations for
improving local traffic operations and for providing access to the
Thruway. Also, the City of Syracuse prepared a 1959 General Plan that
included recommendations for long range transportation improvements.
The 1947 study recommended construction of several Thruway
interchanges, north-south and east-west roadways, a relocated Route 5
between the western suburbs and City of Syracuse and a central
arterial system in downtown Syracuse (Center Loop). The 1959 report
also recommended major east-west and north-south routes, the Route 5
relocation and limited access highways from the southern city line to and
around the eastern and western suburbs.
Most of the recommendations included in these reports were
constructed. The new north-south route became Interstate Route 81, the
east-west route is now Interstate Route 690 and I-481 around the
eastern suburbs connects I-81, I-690 and the Thruway. Thruway
interchanges were constructed at I-690, County Route 57, Electronics
Parkway, I-81, Carrier Circle and I-481. The downtown central arterial
system was constructed and includes West, Adams and Townsend
Streets along with portions of Seymour and Shonnard Streets.
Major unbuilt roadways are relocated Route 5 and the
expressway around the western suburbs. Relocated Route 5 would
have provided an expressway type facility between the Hamlet of
Fairmount and the City's central arterial system. Starting in Fairmount,
this facility would have continued southeasterly around the Village of
Solvay to a connection with the Center Loop at Seymour and Shonnard
Streets via a widened Grand Avenue. The expressway around the
western suburbs would have linked Relocated Route 5 to I-81 with new
interchanges at Route 5, Route 175 and I-81 at the southern city line.
In addition to the above studies, the Department of Transportation
considered building a new roadway from the existing I-690/I-481
interchange to Chittenango. This roadway, known as Relocated Route 5,
was never constructed. In the late 1980's, we evaluated a smaller scale
project to provide a 4-lane road between the I-690/I-481 interchange and
the Route 257/Route 290 intersection in Manlius Center. This project was
dropped from further consideration due to engineering, social, economic
and environmental impacts.
Thanks to George Doucette of NYSDOT for providing me with the information I requested about this.