The plan is updated but once a decade, and the time has come again. Douglas County's Transportation Master Plan is undergoing a review by county employees and the public before staff hope the update …
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The plan is updated but once a decade, and the time has come again.
Douglas County's Transportation Master Plan is undergoing a review by county employees and the public before staff hope the update is officially adopted in September. The most recent plan was created to address transportation system needs through 2030 and adopted in 2009. The newest version will look to 2040.
A draft of the 2040 Transportation Master Plan is available online for the public's review at 2040DougCoTMP.com. The county is soliciting input through July 22.
“Transportation affects all of us at any age,” said Roger Partridge, chairman of the board of county commissioners. “So, we want to make sure that we are not only providing at the present but planning for the future.”
The document, which serves as a supplemental plan to the county's Comprehensive Master Plan, identifies where county residents and employees travel most, how road systems coincide with land use and what improvements are needed.
County staff members use that and other insight from the county demographer — like the fact that 75% of county residents who work travel outside Douglas County for their jobs — according to 2015 U.S. Census data, when planning the county's long-term transportation goals.
Douglas County's principal traffic engineer, Kathie Haire, and the director of public works and engineering, Janet Herman, say the areas of greatest need are the county's areas of high growth, largely northern Douglas County, from Parker to Roxborough. Herman said roads in that portion of the county will require widening to address issues with congestion.
In addition to identifying needs, the document also lays out which road projects the county expects to complete by 2040.
Numerous factors go into determining when the county takes a project up. That could be issues with congestion or safety hazards. But it also includes how much right of way the county has already acquired, if funding partners are available and what utilities exist on a project site. Utilities often need to be relocated to accommodate roadwork and can draw out the project length and cost.
On the list for improvements expected to begin this year or in 2020 is a widening of U.S. Highway 85, where the roadway narrows to one lane in each direction near Louviers. Widening this stretch has been on the county's wish list for years but the staff believes it could go to bid by the end of 2019 or in early 2020, Herman said.
The plan's update has been more than a year in the making. Douglas County sought input from local municipalities, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Regional Transportation District and others.
“I think it's important for the public to understand that transportation planning involves numerous agencies and numerous professions to address the needs of mobility,” Partridge said.
Staff relied on software modeling provided by the Denver Regional Council of Governments to analyze current traffic needs and projections for the future.
“The model that's run is pretty sophisticated,” Herman said. “I would say state of the art.”
The staff will take three to four weeks after July 22 to assess public input on the document and hope to have it before the planning commission, the government body that approves the plan, by September. The plan is approved in one reading and does not go before the board of commissioners for approval.
“The ultimate goal is to get to 2040 and meet our demands that we'll have in 2040,” Haire said.
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