County takes look at future of transportation

Royse City Herald-Banner (TX), 2014-07-09


July 09 --While current construction on a number of road projects throughout Rockwall County gets the attention of residents, commuters and those passing by, county officials are still hard at work in planning the next phase of improvements still to come to the local infrastructure.

County commissioner David Magness says the county is taking a long look at its existing thoroughfare plan in hopes of having something new drafted in the next year.

"I think the earliest plan I've seen was in 2000 and the one we're working on now was updated in 2008, so in this day and time it's a bit behind," Magness said. "Our consultant, Innovative Transportation Solutions, is taking the lead on this and they've met with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and they're providing ITS with maps, traffic counts and everything else they'll need."

The county thoroughfare plan is a look ahead at what road plans are expected to be, what roads cities think they'll need, road sizes and so on. The plan also ensures the proper connectivity of roads throughout the entire county.

"ITS is coordinating with the cities and we think we'll have a new plan complete by next spring," Magness said.

In addition to that plan, Magness also said some discussion on the proposed Blacklands Corridor has heated up a bit, but until NCTCOG gives it approval, the project will never be more than a pipe dream.

"The developers of this project have had some discussion with Fate and Rockwall about it coming a little closer and actually into Rockwall County ," he said. "We talked about possibly crossing the lake, somewhere around the Collin and Rockwall County line, but since then they've said it would probably move north of Ray Hubbard but south of Highway 78 , putting it in lowland area but not crossing the lake.

NCTCOG is doing its study and will have a report out in December, and then we'll know what they think about the project. The developers say they have the money to build it without TxDOT, but they still need the NCTCOG blessing, or it will never happen."

Magness also noted that the county is continuing to work on projects it believes will be funded, with Highway 66 the main priority.

"We have some commitments from TxDOT for some funding," he said, "but we still need to iron out the details as far as the footprint.

"We need the stars to align on this project. We have money we can put into it but it's just not enough. And we're not yet there on the engineering.

"Pretty soon we're going to have to say 'here's what we're willing to do, here's how much money we have,' and see if TxDOT can make up the difference."

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