For those of you who have been following our public outreach efforts the last couple of years, you’re aware that the commissioners’ focus has been on effective planning for our county’s future. 

We’ve created an economic development plan that identified areas of potential growth; a comprehensive plan which our community spent months constructing and memorializing a vision for our future; and an overall strategic plan that has helped identify impediments to growth, such as deficiencies in public infrastructure. All three have led us to the next phase, and this week’s topic: the thoroughfare plan, which is a master “vision” for our roads and bridges. 

Montgomery County does not currently have a thoroughfare plan. We recognize the need to look forward and identify ways in which we can assess the county’s infrastructure, to respond to future challenges and opportunities. When complete, this plan is a continuation of the ideas presented in earlier plans and will support investment from residential developers and/or new businesses.

We are fortunate to have access to three major regional corridors: Interstate 74 to Indianapolis, U.S. 231 north to Lafayette and south to interstate 70, and S.R. 32 east to Lebanon and Interstate 65. As we continue to strive to accomplish the goals our citizens have identified as priorities, and improving the quality of life, it’s critical we ensure the county transportation network integrates well with these regional corridors, as well as county-wide connectivity. 

The thoroughfare plan includes five elements:

• Key road network map

This is the “blueprint” to enhance connectivity within our community. 

• Functional classification map

This is a look at “current conditions” of our roads. Having our roads identified by INDOT as “functionally classified” is an opportunity to list our assets with the state highway. This aspect alone opens doors to state and federal funding sources. 

• Thoroughfare plan map

This is a visual representation of our future roadway network. It’s used as a tool for our community to plan for changes to our transportation network over the next 10, 15, even 20 years out. A “futuristic” look if you will. 

• Right-of-way standards

These represent standards that we should use to guild roadway improvement projects. This helps ensure that county thoroughfares will have enough easement to accommodate future capacity improvements and drainage issues.

• Prioritize improvements and action steps 

Things we can do over the next several years to enhance our transportation network. Using data like current and projected traffic volumes. Road “ratings” using an industry standard program that correlates current road conditions to repair work requirements and longevity. Roadway surface type (gravel, paved or chip and seal). Future land use map and Stakeholder input.

The results will be a prioritized list of improvements, and a plan of action that will show immediate returns on our investment of tax dollars. 

All of this preparation and planning has been for one goal only: to confidently move forward knowing this work is supported by our fellow citizens who trust in the results of this process and to enable us to recognize what it takes to create an environment where businesses can prosper and residents desire to live, work and play.

Go to our commissioners website www.montgomerycounty.in.gov and click on the link to the county thoroughfare plan.

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