The public input period on the routing question for the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway has been extended to March 21.
Comments from the public and federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over the project had been due Wednesday. However, County Engineer Frank Hempen said a 15-day extension was granted at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency.
``I believe their complaint is that they're still trying to recover from the federal shutdown,'' Hempen said.
Federal employee furloughs that resulted from congressional budget impasses already had prompted three previous deadline extensions.
County officials have said they expect the EPA to be critical of the supplemental environmental impact statement for the project. A memo leaked last week by an employee of the Federal Highway Administration indicated that criticism may come from that agency as well.
If the impact statement is approved, trafficway planners will use it to choose the route the road will take from U.S. Highway 59 to Kansas Highway 10.