KDOT to host virtual and in-person public hearings on proposed layout of SLT expansion

photo by: KDOT and FHWA

Plans show the expansion options for the South Lawrence Trafficway recommended by the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

State and federal transportation agencies will soon host public hearings about the proposed design of the South Lawrence Trafficway expansion and the draft environmental impact study for the project.

The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration will host both in-person and virtual hearings, which will allow the public to provide input on the proposed route and the draft study, according to a KDOT news release.

KDOT and the FHA evaluated several alternatives for the SLT expansion and determined in September that an open-access highway best meets the purpose and need for the corridor. Other options, including a partially tolled expressway were also considered.

More specifically, the recommended layout for the expansion would add two lanes to the western leg of the SLT to create a four-lane divided highway, with the ability to expand in the future to six lanes. The recommendation would eliminate the at-grade crossing of the trafficway at 27th Street/Wakarusa Drive and replace it with ramp access, as well as make other changes to existing interchanges.

KDOT and FHA have been evaluating the benefits and impacts of potential improvement options for the SLT for the past three years, and those findings are now available in the recently released draft of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

The public comment period on the draft and the recommended route recently began and will remain open until June 14. There are several ways for the public to provide input, and the draft SEIS report will be available at the Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence City Hall, Lawrence Public Works Office and Douglas County Public Works Office, as well as online on the project website, slt-ks.org, for the comment period.

The public can sign up for a time slot to attend an in-person public hearing on May 26, with openings available from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Baker University Wetlands & Discovery Center, 1365 North 1250 Road. There will be a presentation during each of the time slots and an opportunity to leave verbal comments with a court reporter.

For those who would like to provide comments virtually, a live virtual public hearing will take place on May 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It will include a presentation followed by an opportunity to leave verbal comments.

The public can visit the project website at slt-ks.org to reserve a time slot for the in-person meeting, find a link for the virtual meeting, and to view materials online and submit comments through an electronic form. Those who need special assistance, would like to sign up for the in-person meeting, request a hard copy of the report or discuss the project with a team member can contact Kelsey Heavin at 816-527-2468 or info@tslt-ks.org.

It is still unknown when the SLT expansion project will have the funding to move to construction. The state’s transportation plan supports continuation of design and project development for the expansion project, but a construction timeline has not yet been established.

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