The new Ellis County Thoroughfare Plan, adopted by the commissioners court on June 25 after more than two years of collaborative planning, has been posted on the county’s Web site at www.co.ellis.tx.us.

“There is a link in the sidebar on the home page that is labeled ‘Ellis County Plans and Maps,’ ” county planner Barbra Leftwich said. “We have posted both the map and the plan document.”

The process of putting the plan together began during County Judge Chad Adams’ first term of office, when he said there was a need for a “sound and up-to-date thoroughfare plan” and asked commissioners to appoint a professional county planner in March 2004.

“In spite of the dedication and expertise of both the director of the Department of Development and the county engineer, a gap still exists,” Adams said at the time, noting a planner would act as a policy adviser for the commissioners court on a variety of issues in addition to transportation.

In February 2005, commissioners approved a contract with HNTB for engineering services in relation to thoroughfare planning and in July that same year the county began holding public meetings and working with its cities, the Texas Department of Transportation and others to develop the plan.

“The plan is a culmination of what is best for the county and what the cities are doing,” Scott Forbes of HNTB said. “This plan helps with the county and area cities knowing the needs and evaluating future development of roads.”

Leftwich said she is pleased to have the plan finalized and made accessible through the county’s Web site.

“The thoroughfare plan is a transportation planning tool to help guide future development and support the community’s needs in the future,” Leftwich said. “The intent is to look at Ellis County as a whole and develop concrete policies and procedures to assist with transportation issues and avoid future transportation problems.”

Leftwich cited mobility as one of the greatest challenges facing Ellis County as it grows.

“It is a complex issue because it encompasses emergency preparedness, economy, environment, sustainable housing, local control, tax burdens and convenience,” she said. “The ability of the thoroughfare system to achieve its goals of providing for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods will have an enormous impact on the long-range quality and economic viability of Ellis County.”