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Letter to the Editor: Rockwall County Thoroughfare Plan

David Magness, Rockwall County Commissioner, Precinct 4

(ROCKWALL, TX — July 28, 2017) Rockwall County Commissioners Court is moving forward to update the county’s comprehensive thoroughfare plan, which will serve as a guide to continued identification and implementation of long-range transportation projects in Rockwall County.

The Commissioners Court has been actively involved in the transportation business for almost two decades. On a daily basis, I believe our Rockwall County residents can see that our efforts have been successful.

That success did not just happen. It all started with a thoroughfare plan developed through the Rockwall County Transportation Planning Consortium, a group composed of county officials and officials from each city in Rockwall County. The coordinated effort has also involved adjacent counties and our regional transportation partners.

This comprehensive thoroughfare plan has allowed the county and our cities to work together and independently, providing for movement of traffic from city to city, from rural to urban, without difficulty and in a manner that has provided and promoted a better quality of life for the people who live in Rockwall County.

Thoroughfare networks are a relatively permanent framework for countywide growth, and help guide that growth. As development occurs, it becomes more difficult to make changes to the roadway system without significant costs and major disruptions.

Our goal is to be out in front of growth and development, and to have a plan in place. Our comprehensive thoroughfare plan should establish the framework of our roadway system and allow private development to continue at its own pace. It should allow individuals to make independent choices and would do this by placing infrastructure where it is needed.

The county recently acted to engage Freese and Nichols Inc. to update our thoroughfare plan. Rockwall County has had a comprehensive thoroughfare plan for a long time and it has been periodically updated to reflect the mobility needs, visions and goals of the county and our cities.

The current county transportation program is making significant progress, but there are several factors that point to the need for an update to the thoroughfare plan.

Here are some of those factors, listed in no particular order:

  1. Population growth, with county population approaching 100,000.
  2. Success of the current county transportation plan, which has allowed us to move past some of the projects we had on our list.
  3. Development patterns have emerged, providing a clearer picture regarding the placement of roadways
  4. Additional state funding is available.
  5. Plans for a Texas Department of Transportation-sponsored Interstate 30 project, a comprehensive east-west project across the county that revamps I-30 and adds exit ramps and interchanges above what is in place today. That alone calls for an update to the plan.
  6. And the TxDOT- sponsored north-south project, where the state will take John King Boulevard and the city will take Goliad (State Highway 205).

These factors considered together mean major transportation improvements in our county, above and beyond the scope of our current county plan.

Freese and Nichols will produce a comprehensive update to the Rockwall County thoroughfare plan.  This update will be coordinated with our cities, and the result will be a guide for identification and implementation of long-range transportation investments in Rockwall County.

The Rockwall County Commissioners Court will serve as the steering committee for the update and I will serve as the representative who will act on the county’s behalf throughout the update project.

Submitted by Rockwall County Commissioner David Magness, Precinct 4.

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