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County officials approve thoroughfare plan for roads, bridges

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Montgomery County has enacted a thoroughfare plan for roads and bridges, setting in place a long-term strategy for future transportation improvements.

The plan, which county commissioners approved Monday, maps out possible areas for linking county roads to major highways and industrial zones. As part of the county’s comprehensive plan, the tool would also help set design standards for needed projects and open the door to regional, state and federal funding.

Officials stressed that the plan does not give the green light for construction and that many projects could be years away. An earlier draft of the plan raised concerns from northern Montgomery County farmers that a new road would split up their fields.

“There was some misconception about this, ‘OK, we’ve approved this and now you’re going to spend all this money,” commissioner John Frey said.

Commissioners also approved a 14-month contract for Mark Casteel, the county administrator, a position the board created to oversee daily operations of the county. Casteel, a former sheriff, began the job two weeks ago.

County engineer Jim Peck requested approval to submit a grant request for construction on C.R. 500S from Ladoga Road to U.S. 136. The project would include widening the road and improving the U.S. 136 intersection. If funding’s secured, construction would begin in 2025.

In other business, commissioners approved an agreement with Future Energy Solutions to install new outdoor lighting at the jail. The lights will save about $2,000 per month in energy costs, with the county receiving 25% of the savings. The company would own and maintain the fixtures.

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