A committee consisting of organizations and groups from different backgrounds may soon come to life to discuss trafficway issues.
Mike Rees, chief counsel for Kansas Department of Transportation, said Thursday that the state is going take the lead in forming a consensus committee.
Haskell Indian Nations University President Karen Swisher initially brought up the idea of forming the committee to discuss the South Lawrence Trafficway in February. Nothing happened at that time.
Then, last month, Haskell attorney Ronald Manka contacted Rees about beginning such a group.
Since then, Rees said, the state, in conjunction HNTB, a Kansas City, Mo., engineering firm, has planned to get various groups involved. The state hired HNTB to manage the trafficway project.
He said the committee, made up of approximately 20 groups, will include Haskell, Kansas University, the city of Lawrence, Douglas County, Jayhawk Audubon Society and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Terry Flanagan, vice president of HNTB and the project's manager, said his company plans to hire a facilitator to help conduct the meetings.
He said Manka has suggested hiring the Osprey Group, a Denver firm that specializes in working with environmental projects, and an interview has been set up for next week.
Flanagan said he hopes to conduct the first committee meeting in mid-July.
He said the purpose of the group is not to select a preferred alignment, but to provide feedback that will be used by the state for the project.
"I don't think they'll come up with an alignment, but I think they all will be able to understand their concerns," he said.