Betsy Parmley said she’s been with the state Department of Transportation since 2005, holding various roles. But being the Interstate 81 viaduct project’s new director may be her biggest role yet since it’s the state DOT’s biggest upstate project.

“As a kid, I loved math and science myself. And I to me, this is a dream project for a civil engineer because we take something on a piece of paper and then it gets built and you can see it. And what better project than to see that happen in real time than the 81 viaduct project?" said Parmley.

Parmley said community engagement with this project is important.

“One of the important features of this project is reconnecting the community. So we really wanted to engage with the community and we will continue to engage with the community and our stakeholders to really try to understand what their concerns are," Parmley said.

She said it’s also important to educate the community about the project. Parmley said without the viaduct, there will be a whole new atmosphere in parts of Syracuse.

“It will be bright, it'll be airy, they'll be pedestrians, they'll be cyclists. It'll be so different for the city of Syracuse. And that is part of my job to try to communicate that to the public," Parmley said.

Parmley said they have a great team at the state DOT to make the project a success.

“As for me being a woman doing this, I think in the end it doesn't matter, right? I'm a mom, but I'm a professional engineer, too. And, it all just comes together and it'll be a great project. And I'm just so excited for this opportunity," said Parmley.

Parmley said she hopes more young women get involved in STEM fields.

A judge previously ruled that the process of the project can continue but no demolition can take place until further environmental impact studies are conducted.

Parmley said the plan for the project is for shovels to be in the ground in the spring.