FHWA Announces Intent to Adopt Environmental Statement for South Lawrence Trafficway

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is seeking public comment on its intent to adopt the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the South Lawrence Trafficway. The comment period ends at the close of business on Wednesday, May 31, 2006.

Copies of the FEIS can be viewed through May 31 at the following locations during their normal business hours:

A CD of the FEIS is also available by contacting the Kansas Department of Transportation, State Road Office, 785-296-3901.

Comments on the FHWA’s intent to adopt the approved FEIS must be submitted in writing and postmarked no later than May 31, 2006. Comments should be addressed to: Wendall L. Meyer, Assistant Division Administrator, FHWA, Kansas Division Office, 6111 SW 29th Street, Topeka, KS 66614.

The FHWA will prepare and coordinate the distribution of a Draft and Final Section 4(f) Evaluation for the project. These documents will evaluate the reasonable alternatives to determine if they are feasible and prudent as they relate to Section 4(f).

After the comment period and the Section 4(f) evaluation, the FHWA will release its own Record of Decision (ROD). The FHWA expects to issue its ROD in Spring 2007.

Background
In November 2005, the Kansas Department of Transportation received a $1.5 million federal appropriation to resume development of the South Lawrence Trafficway. The funds will not be sufficient to start construction of the project, which is estimated to cost more than $110 million and growing. No funding was included for the project in the ten-year Comprehensive Transportation Program which ends in 2009, so no construction is scheduled.

The FHWA became involved as a result of the federal appropriation. The approved FEIS was prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as part of a Section 404 application. The comment period on the FHWA’s intent to adopt the FEIS is the next step in a process necessary to determine the location of the proposed new highway. The FEIS examines the potential impacts the proposed highway alignments could have on social, environmental (natural, historic, and cultural), and economic characteristics of the corridor. It also addresses the purpose and need for making improvements. The project consists of building a new section of K-10 Highway beginning at the K-10 /US-59 Highway interchange in southwest Lawrence extending approximately six miles north and east to the existing K-10 near the eastern edge of the city of Lawrence. The preferred alternative would build a limited access freeway along the southern edge of the city on an alignment identified as 32nd Street Alignment B. The No-Action alternative and five roadway corridors with a total of twelve reasonable build alternative alignments were evaluated and discussed in the Draft and Final EIS.