Politics aside, where is the best place to put a new sewer plant for the city of Lawrence?
Douglas County commissioners hope the engineering firm that will design the plant can answer that question in the near future. In fact, there are several questions Commissioners Bob Johnson, Jere McElhaney and Charles Jones are hoping to get answered by the time they meet with Lawrence city and school board representatives again to discuss the issue March 8.
"I just want to get these pieces and numbers together," Jones said during Monday's county meeting.
"We want to have thought this through and come up with some answers," said Johnson, the commission chairman.
Commissioners are hoping to meet with a representative of Black & Veatch during a future meeting.
Commissioners also asked county engineer Keith Browning to come up with cost projections and possible road projects that will be needed depending on whether the sewer plant is placed east or west of U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence, as has been discussed. Included would be a possible east-west route from U.S. 59 to Noria Road and a major crossing at the Wakarusa River. Also to be considered are possible road "fly-overs" carrying traffic over the South Lawrence Trafficway at Kasold and Wakarusa drives.
Last week the city, county and school district met to discuss issues surrounding a new $76 million sewer plant, which city engineering consultants say is imperative to bring online by 2011. Building the plant west of U.S. 59 could increase growth in the Lawrence school district, while building it east of the highway would increase growth in the Baldwin school district.
There are many factors to consider in choosing a location for the plant, commissioners said. Building it southwest of Lawrence would mean the possibility of southwest winds carrying odors into the city, McElhaney noted.
"I think the farther east we have it the better," he said.
Commissioners hope to have their minds clear about what they think needs to be done concerning the sewer plant by the March 8 meeting.
"We ought to have thought this through and come to some conclusion and be willing to say we can support some sort of action or activity," Johnson said.
The county should know whether they favor east or west of U.S. 59 and know what it needs to do to be ready for the growth that will follow, Jones said.