Interstate 481 New York
Interstate 481 serves as a half-beltway around the city of Syracuse, from southern reaches of the city to the villages of East Syracuse and North Syracuse. Beyond the north parent junction, the freeway continues as New York 481 to Fulton as part of a state route extending 31.8 miles northwest to New York 104 at Oswego, the Port City of Central New York.
The I-481 beltway provides a bypass route for through traffic headed between Binghamton and Watertown on I-81. The loop also serves commuter traffic around the east suburbs and the retail corridor along NY 5 in DeWitt.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the I-81 Viaduct Project outlines two alternatives for addressing the aging bridge system of Interstate 81 through the city of Syracuse. The Viaduct Alternative under study includes replacing the existing roadway with a new viaduct designed with considerable improvements. It is estimated to cost $1.7 billion.1
The Community Grid Alternative involves demolishing the existing viaduct and decommissioning the route as a I-81. Estimated to cost $1.3 billion, this alternative would relocate Interstate 81 to bypass Syracuse over the current route of I-481 as improvements are made to the belt route. I-481 would subsequently no longer exist and a new Interstate spur would be designated over a portion of old I-81 from the north. The freeway from the south would be replaced by a urban boulevard northward to a reconstructed Almond Street.1
I-481 was initially numbered as Interstate 281 when it was open between I-81 in Dewitt and Interstate 690 by East Syracuse. It appears that the numbering change was undertaken in an effort to reduce confusion with New York 281, located 15 miles to the south in Cortland County. Interstate 281 was renumbered to Interstate 481 on January 1, 1970.2 AASHTO previously approved the renumbering on October 26, 1969.
There were also plans to create Interstate 481 as a full beltway around Syracuse, but that concept never materialized. I-481 opened initially between Jamesville Road (Exit 2) and Interstate 690 (Exit 4) by the early 1970s. The route was then extended north to Interstate 90 (New York Thruway), before being completed southwest to I-81. Extension of the beltway northward from the Thruway (Exit 6) to I-81 at North Syracuse (Exit 9) was completed by late 1985.3
The same changes made in 1970 to renumber I-281 as I-481 included a renumbering of New York 57 between North Syracuse and New York 3 in Fulton as a continuation of “I-481”. This of course is now NY 481.2
North End – North Syracuse, NY
South End – Syracuse, NY
Mileage – 15.04
Cities – DeWitt, Syracuse
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-481 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
|Location||Vehicles per day|
|Exits 1 to 2||31,318|
|Exits 2 to 3||34,115|
|Exits 3 to 4||64,393|
|Exits 4 to 5||47,227|
|Exits 5 to 6||40,588|
|Exits 6 to 7||32,113|
|Exits 7 to 8||32,706|
|Exits 8 to 9||33,969|
|Exits 9 to 10||57,557|
|Exit 10 to NY 31||29,068|
|NY 31 to Oswego Co.||22,227|
|Onondaga Co. to CR 57A||20,998|
|CR 57A to NY 264||17,262|
|NY 264 to CR 57||13,338|
Source: 2015 NYSDOT Traffic Data Viewer
North End – North Syracuse, New York
South End – Syracuse, New York
- I-81 Viaduct. NYSDOT project web page, accessed November 28, 2016.
- “Description of Touring Routes in New York State for the Interstate (I), Federal (US) and State (NY) Route Number Systems.”
- Interstate 481 exit listing.
http://www.upstatenyroads.com/i481.shtmlThe Upstate New York Roads Site.
Page updated November 30, 2016.