Here's a piece of development that perhaps you didn't expect to sprout alongside the new $130 million South Lawrence Trafficway: a sewage pump station.
But plans call for a new sewage pumping station at the northwest corner of 31st and Louisiana streets, and city officials this week are hosting a public meeting to discuss how the project can fit into what will be a busy area of the city.
"We're going to go over a lot of options of what it can look like," said Dave Wagner, the city's director of utilities. "At this point, it really can look like whatever we want it to look like."
The city will host a meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the South Middle School Cafeteria, 2734 Louisiana St.
The new pump station will be part of the infrastructure that funnels sewage to the new $55 million treatment plant that will be built south of the Wakarusa River. Like the treatment plant, the pump station is scheduled to be operational by 2017.
Wagner, though, said city officials want to leave themselves plenty of time to design the pump station because they know it will be in a highly visible location, especially as traffic is expected to increase with the completion of the nearby trafficway in 2016.
Wagner said one design option for the pump station could involve an earth berm structure that would blend in well with the landscape, and also may serve as a good gateway into the Baker Wetlands area.
Wagner said a host of other designs also will be considered.
As for potential odor and noise issues associated with the pump station, Wagner said he's confident there won't be any problems for adjacent properties. Wagner said that has been the city's experience with the dozens of other pump stations the city operates throughout Lawrence. He said this pumping station will be entirely contained within a building. It won't have any outdoor storage for wet-weather overflow.
Wagner said design work on the pump station would take place this year and that a construction contract likely would be awarded in 2015.