Interstate 481

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Interstate 481

Map of Syracuse, New York with I-481 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-81
Maintained by NYSDOT
Length15.04 mi[1] (24.20 km)
ExistedJanuary 1, 1970[2]–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-81 in Syracuse
Major intersections
North end I-81 / NY 481 in North Syracuse
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
Highway system
I-478 NY 481
NY 280I-281 NY 281

Interstate 481 (I-481) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway that serves as an eastern bypass of Syracuse, New York, in the US. It begins at its parent, I-81, in the city's southern end and travels through the eastern Syracuse suburbs of Jamesville, DeWitt, and Cicero before rejoining I-81 in the suburb of North Syracuse. After crossing I-81 in North Syracuse, I-481 continues northwest to Fulton and Oswego as New York State Route 481 (NY 481). I-481 is part of the Veterans Memorial Highway, which extends northward onto NY 481.

Route description

I-481 begins at I-81's exit 16A, a directional T interchange in the South Valley section of the city of Syracuse. Immediately crossing under NY 173, I-481 proceeds eastward alongside Rock Cut Road (unsigned County Route 103 [CR 103]), which meets the freeway at exit 1 heading east. I-481 crosses out of Syracuse and into the town of Onondaga, paralleling Rock Cut Road into Clark Reservation State Park. The Interstate Highway makes a bend to the northeast, crossing over tracks used by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway and entering exit 2, which connects to Jamesville Road (CR 7).[3]

I-481 northbound nearing I-81 in North Syracuse

After exit 2, I-481 makes a bend to the north, crossing east of Butternut Creek Golf Course as it crosses into the town of DeWitt. In DeWitt, I-481 enters an interchange (exit 3) with NY 5 and NY 92 (East Genesee Street) just west of the hamlet of Lyndon. After the junction, I-481 continues bending to the northeast, crossing the west end of Old Erie Canal State Park and east of White Chapel Memory Gardens before entering a large interchange with the eastern terminus of I-690. Just north of the interchange, I-481 crosses over NY 290 (Manlius Center Road) and CSX Transportation's DeWitt Yard. A short distance after the railroad, I-481 enters exit 5, which connects to Kirkville Road (CR 53).[3]

After the interchange with CR 53, I-481 continues northward through DeWitt, paralleling Fly Road (CR 77). A short distance later, I-481 crosses over the New York State Thruway (I-90) and enters exit 6, a trumpet interchange leading to exit 34A of the Thruway. A short distance after the Thruway, I-481 enters a partial cloverleaf interchange with NY 298 (Collamer Road). The freeway continues northeast, crossing over East Taft Road (CR 18) in DeWitt before bending northwest into the town of Cicero. In Cicero, I-481 enters an interchange (exit 8) with Northern Boulevard (CR 82). A short distance to the west in the town of North Syracuse, I-481 enters exit 9, a cloverleaf interchange with I-81. At this junction, the designation of I-481 ends while NY 481 continues northwestward toward Oswego.[3]


What is now I-481 was originally proposed as parts of two separate highways bypassing the city of Syracuse. From the New York State Thruway (I-90) in DeWitt[2] southwest to I-81 in the south end of Syracuse, the highway was originally designated as I-281.[4] North of the thruway, modern I-481 was initially part of "Relocated Route 57", a proposed limited-access highway extending from NY 57 in Fulton to the thruway in DeWitt via North Syracuse. All of I-281 and the segment of Relocated Route 57 east of I-81 in North Syracuse were redesignated as I-481 on January 1, 1970.[2]

The first section of the highway to be built was the piece between Jamesville Road and NY 5 at Lyndon Corners. Work on this portion of the freeway began c. 1963[5] and was completed and opened to traffic on October 1, 1963.[6] Construction of I-281, and later I-481, initially progressed northward from NY 5. The segment between Lyndon and the Thruway was opened to traffic on May 25, 1973.[7] To the southwest, the section of I-481 from I-81 to Jamesville Road was finished in the early 1980s, finally connecting I-481 to its parent.[8][9] The last portion of the route from the thruway to I-81 in North Syracuse was begun with a groundbreaking ceremony on August 16, 1982,[10] and was completed south of Northern Boulevard on December 13, 1984,[11] and finished on September 26, 1985.[12]


As part of the demolition and replacement of I-81 through Downtown Syracuse, I-481 will be redesignated as I-81, while the current route of I-81 will be redesignated as I-81 Business (I-81 Bus). As part of the project, both interchanges between I-81 and I-481 would be reconstructed. The ramps would be expanded to carry more traffic to account for the increased traffic. Also as part of the project, I-481 would be expanded to three lanes each way between exits 4 (I-690) and 5 (Kirkville Road); to three lanes northbound between exits 5 and 6 (I-90); and to three lanes southbound between exits 9 (I-81) and 8 (Northern Boulevard). Construction was expected to start in mid-2020 and take five years to complete.[13][14][15] However, in May 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the project would not commence until the following year. At this time, the New York state government allocated $800 million to the "community grid" plan.[16] In preparation for the reconstruction/relocation of I-81 around Syracuse, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), at its annual Spring Meeting in May 2021, conditionally approved the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)'s application to reroute I-81 over I-481 around the east side of Syracuse and redesignate I-81 through Syracuse as I-81 Bus, pending concurrence from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The I-481 designation will be eliminated once these route changes have been completed.[17]

Exit list

The entire route is in Onondaga County.

Syracuse0.000.00 I-81 – Syracuse, BinghamtonExit 16A on I-81
1Brighton Avenue / Rock Cut RoadNo southbound signage for Rock Cut Road
DeWitt3.335.362Jamesville Road – Jamesville
5.148.273 NY 5 / NY 92 – DeWitt, FayettevilleSigned as exits 3E (east) and 3W (west)
I-690 west – Syracuse, Fairgrounds
Eastern terminus of I-690
8.3213.395Kirkville RoadSigned as exits 5E (east) and 5W (west)
I-90 Toll / New York Thruway – Albany, Buffalo
Exit 34A on I-90 / Thruway
10.2016.427 NY 298 – Bridgeport
Cicero13.4821.698Northern Boulevard
15.0824.279 I-81 – Watertown, SyracuseSigned as exits 9N (north) and 9S (south); exit 29 on I-81

NY 481 north – Oswego
Continuation north
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

==See also==*New York State Route 481 for exits 10 through 14


  1. ^ "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. December 31, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c State of New York Department of Transportation (January 1, 1970). Official Description of Touring Routes in New York State (PDF). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Microsoft; Nokia (June 2, 2012). "overview map of Interstate 481" (Map). Bing Maps. Microsoft. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  4. ^ New York Happy Motoring Guide (Map) (1963 ed.). Cartography by General Drafting. Esso. 1963.
  5. ^ New York with Sight-Seeing Guide (Map) (1962 ed.). Cartography by General Drafting. Esso. 1962.
  6. ^ "Interstate Opening Is Set October 1". Fayetteville Eagle Bulletin. September 19, 1963. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  7. ^ "Road to Open". The Post-Standard. 1973-05-18. p. 21. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  8. ^ New York (Map). Cartography by General Drafting. Exxon. 1979.
  9. ^ I Love New York Tourism Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally and Company. State of New York. 1981.
  10. ^ Bliven, Luther F. (August 16, 1982). "Moynihan to Speak At I-481 Ceremony". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  11. ^ McAndrew, Mike (December 13, 1984). "I-481 Section Opened". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  12. ^ Smith, Andrew (September 26, 1985). "Last Link of 481's Arc Set For Friday Opening". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  13. ^ Lohmann, Patrick (April 22, 2019). "Exclusive: New York selects 'community grid' alternative for I-81 in Syracuse". Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  14. ^ McMahon, Julie (April 22, 2019). "I-81 timeline: Community grid will take 5 years of construction, NY says". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  15. ^ CNYCentral (April 23, 2019). "I-81 Timeline: What happens next?". CNYCentral. WSTM-TV. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Weaver, Teri (2021-04-09). "Syracuse's I-81 project gets $800M in NY budget, with latest plan coming this summer". syracuse. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  17. ^ "US Route Number Applications" (PDF). American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  18. ^ "2008 Traffic Volume Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. June 16, 2009. p. 238. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2010.

External links