Interstate 781 Opens To Rave Reviews

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It didn't take drivers long to discover the new Interstate 781.

"This is great. I've been waiting for this a long time," said driver Mike Rist.

"It was nice - nice to save a little time heading north," said driver Mike Sherman.

Hours after opening, the $58 million highway was seeing brisk traffic. 

Drivers seem to like this new, direct route from Interstate 81 to Fort Drum, with a bridge up and over Route 11. 

But what about the effect on Route 342, the other main link between Route 81 and Route 11? 

Some businesses along there had been concerned about the effect of less traffic.

But now, some say less traffic on 342 may be a good thing, as it may mean more customers can actually reach their doors.

"Because of the fact that 342 is so congested from 3 to 5 o'clock in the afternoons," said Kris Allen of Allen's Liquor and Wines.

For many drivers, the long wait is over.

"I didn't think they'd get it done before winter started. It works out and it's a great road, especially for those going into Fort Drum," said Bob Austin, Pamelia Town Justice.

"So whatever we can to do expedite the traffic and make it easier coming out of Fort Drum, I'm all for it," said Rist.

It may take a while to see how the new traffic patterns settle out. 

But for now, I-781 seems to be a hit, at least with the drivers who've used it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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