Syracuse University has publicly endorsed the community grid option to replace the Interstate 81 viaduct that runs through the city.

Chancellor Kent Syverud sent an email to students, faculty and staff Friday afternoon informing them of his decision to back one of the options that addresses the future of the aging interstate highway.

“It is my view that the Community Grid option most strongly aligns with the attributes and outcomes that Syracuse University previously endorsed as central to any I-81 replacement option,” Syverud said in the email. “These critical attributes include multiple access points to the highway and to University Hill; a robust connection between University Hill and downtown; enhanced public transportation and public space options; environmental and financial sustainability; and minimal disruption to housing, businesses and jobs, both during and after construction. The Community Grid is best positioned to drive meaningful transformation across our community, and in the heart of our city.”

The chancellor said he has met with city, county, state, business, and community leaders over the last year to comb through the benefits each option to replace I-81 might have on the campus and the surrounding area. He said the university has also listened to input from students and the entire college community.

The community grid would turn the existing portion of I-81 that runs through Syracuse into a network of city streets and redirect through traffic to Interstate 481.

The other options are to build an underground tunnel or simply rebuild the viaduct.