South Lawrence Trafficway planning agencies will accept mail on the subject until Dec. 4.
Even though the public hearing is over, Douglas County residents still have an opportunity to comment on route proposals for the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
In addition to public input they received Wednesday, the federal, state and county agencies planning the trafficway will continue to accept comments by mail until Dec. 4.
That means it will be at least February before officials recommend a route for the trafficway to take from U.S. Highway 59 to Kansas Highway 10, said John Pasley, the county's trafficway project manager.
The choice of alignment -- be it on 31st, 35th or 38th Street -- will be published in the final draft of the project's supplemental environmental impact statement. The route will be picked by consensus of the agencies planning the road, said Douglas County Engineer Frank Hempen.
``The Federal Highway Administration is the decision-maker, but I'm sure they will be seeking strong opinions from both the county and the state,'' Hempen said. ``We're all going to agree to go forward with one alignment.''
New floodway boundaries that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to disclose in January also could have an effect on the alignment choice. Trafficway planners say it's possible that the 38th Street alignment could fall within new floodway boundaries. Federal regulations prohibit highway construction in floodways.
During the official hearing Wednesday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, more than 450 people put their opinions on record, according to an estimate by staff in the Douglas County Public Works Department.
About 280 people submitted written comments during the hearing, while an estimated 180 more dictated their statements to four court reporters.
County staff, who were stationed at the door of the hearing hall at the fairgrounds, said that although more people entered, 625 signed in.
Pasley said trafficway planners really do read every comment. Once the Dec. 4 deadline for public input passes, Pasley said, agency officials must answer every question posed by the public during the comment process.
The public comments and the agency responses will become part of the official record for the project and will be published in the final SEIS.
Additional public comment may be sent to Pasley 's attention at the Douglas County Public Works office, 1242 Mass.