Elbert County hired Kimley-Horn, a planning, design, and engineering consulting firm, to develop a strategic plan to guide countywide transportation priorities and investments. The Transportation Master Plan (TMP) will further define the County’s transportation vision and build on the West Elbert County Transportation Plan completed in 2008.
The TMP process focuses on providing the County with a decision-making framework and a coordinated strategy to implement actionable projects to address the County’s transportation challenges now and into the future. The TMP will help set a clear vision for how investments are made that balance the County’s rural character with the growing urban edges and identify transportation improvements that are consistent with the core values of the community.
In mid-October, an online community survey was administered, and roughly 380 residents responded. This first round of the public and stakeholder engagement process was largely focused on allowing residents to:
- Decide what should be prioritized in the Transportation Master Plan;
- Weigh trade-offs in how to use the County’s limited transportation funding; and
- Map strengths, weaknesses, and opportunity areas in the County’s transportation system.
Survey respondents cited roadway maintenance, safety and efficiency as the highest priorities for the TMP. Multimodal transportation and transportation/land use integration are the lowest priorities of the eight goals identified in the survey.
Elbert County residents indicated that they would rather focus on maintaining the existing transportation system over expanding the transportation system and that they would like to make it easier to travel within Elbert County rather than making it easier to travel into and out of Elbert County.
Residents indicated that they anticipate reverting to similar travel patterns after the Covid-19 pandemic as they had before the pandemic, indicating that travel data collected before the pandemic will continue to be valid into the future.
The survey included an opportunity for respondents to place pins on a map to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunity areas along County roads. The data indicates that there should be a particular focus placed on the area around Elizabeth and the northwest corner of the County due to the high number of responses in that area; however, there are additional hot spots around Kiowa, Simla, and Elbert as well.
Respondents expressed their appreciation for recently completed transportation projects and complimented the County on specific well-maintained roads, both paved and gravel. They also highlighted problems with traffic volumes on gravel roads, safety concerns, and specific projects residents would like the County to prioritize; especially those that would help businesses in the County grow and thrive.
The next steps for this project include continued staff work, collaboration with members of the Transportation Advisory Committee comprised of volunteers from different backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints around the County, and additional public outreach. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our recent transportation survey!
View the Transportation Master Plan Survey Summary here.