Ellis County plans to update its 2018-19 master thoroughfare plan for the first time in 11 years. And, despite conducting two public meetings in the winter, county officials are still looking for further feedback from residents in a new round of public meetings scheduled for this month.

The county has hired Freese & Nichols, Inc. to project the county’s growth and draft a thoroughfare proposal that will better serve Ellis County for the next five to 10 years. According to a previous Daily Light report, the master thoroughfare plan update will be coordinated with locally adopted plans and programs from adjacent cities, counties and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Alberto Mares, Ellis County Director of Planning and Development, stated the proposal would identify the transportation needs for short-term and long-range growth with Ellis County.

“With a lot of demographics changing, people moving down here, we thought it was time to update the thoroughfare plan,” Mares previously stated. “It’s only going to get more populated, so if we don’t address this now, we’re going to have an issue down the road.”

The county previously held two public meetings in December where officials presented early drafts of the proposal and elicited feedback from residents. According to the meeting minutes, residents' biggest concerns were too much traffic through central cities, additional east-to-west and north-to-south routes between South Highway 360 and Interstate Highway 45 and south of Farm-to-Market 875 and back roads needed for Interstate Highway 35 and 45 corridors.

Additional concerns included critical intersections, such as Walnut Grove and U.S. 287 Sevice Road and high-crash corridors, including Interstate Highway 35 and Farm-to-Market 664, which totaled 1,352 and 641 collisions respectively from 2014-2017, according to the meeting minutes.

“These meetings are the public’s first opportunity to see the draft plan our consultants Freese & Nichols have put together after feedback the community gave back in December,” Mares remarked.

The first public meeting will be held Tuesday, May 7 at the Midlothian Conference Center at 1 Community Circle, the second will be Wednesday, May 8 in the Ennis Chamber of Commerce at 108 Chamber of Commerce Drive and the third will be Wednesday, May 15 in the multi-purpose room at the Courts and Administration Building at 109 South Jackson Street in Waxahachie. All meeting times are at 6 p.m.

To learn more about the county thoroughfare update, go online to http://co.ellis.tx.us/mtp.