A pivotal date in the planning of the South Lawrence Trafficway has been penciled in planners' calendars.
Planners of the South Lawrence Trafficway tentatively have set Nov. 8 as the date for a public hearing on the road's supplemental environmental impact statement.
The SEIS ultimately will decide what route the trafficway takes from U.S. Highway 59 to Kansas Highway 10. The first nine miles of the road, which will carry traffic from the Kansas Turnpike west of Lawrence to U.S. Highway 59, already are under construction.
John Pasley, Douglas County's trafficway project manager, said the hearing, which will be held at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, will follow an open-forum format. Afternoon and evening sessions will be offered, although hours have not been set.
``It's not one where everybody gets up to make a speech,'' Pasley said.
He said representatives of local, state and federal agencies planning the project will be stationed at tables to take public comments on specific topics, such as the project's costs and the wetlands.
``That way, you can get one-on-one with the person who wrote the report,'' Pasley said.
Members of the public may make their comments into a tape recorder for agency officials to review later. Shorthand reporters also will transcribe comments.
The Nov. 8 hearing date is conditioned on the draft SEIS being released 30 days before. Some traffic and noise data still are being prepared.
The draft SEIS, which Pasley said will contain about 900 pages and be contained in two volumes, now is expected to be available to the public in early October.
Written public comment still may be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration after the hearing, but Pasley said the deadline has not been formally decided.
The draft SEIS will not contain a recommendation for a route, Pasley said.
``It will basically say the 31st Street route is still the preferred one,'' he said. ``After we get all that (public) input, then we'll decide.''
The Federal Highway Administration ordered that a supplemental EIS be prepared after Haskell Indian Nations University protested that the original study did not consider the 31st Street route's effect on Haskell's campus and its spiritual sites. The 31st Street alignment would pass through the southern end of Haskell's property.
- Do you plan on voicing your concerns about the trafficway at the open-forum scheduled at the fairgrounds? Answer the J-W Access question on page 2A.