The Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization received proposed plans Wednesday for more than $21.7 million in improvements to the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 82. This update came as a part of a presentation on proposed upgrades and improvements to the Highway 75 corridor throughout Grayson County.
When originally proposed, area officials expected that updates to the intersection would require flyovers serving as direct connections between the highways. However, officials with consulting firm IEA proposed a set of four plans, culminating in to one ultimate plan, that would use other methods to improve the intersection.
“You really are not getting the turn volume needed for direct connections,” IEA Project Engineer Rich Renton said. In order to warrant a direct connection between the highways, traffic volumes would need to exceed 1,000 cars per hours. Under current estimates, volumes are only expected to reach about 60 percent of that by 2040.
Instead, IEA recommended a series of improvements that would allow traffic to flow better along the intersection by giving drivers more time, and distance, to maneuver when approaching. These measures include moving all four Highway 82 ramps farther away from the intersection.
As an example of this, SDMPO Director Clay Barnett said eastbound traffic on Hwy. 82 would exit before Travis Street. Traffic looking to merge onto Hwy. 75 would flow underneath Travis as it approaches the highway intersection. Barnett said plans are to avoid an S-curve in the service road along Travis Street.
By moving this intersection back, it would allow drivers more time to maneuver through lanes when approaching Hwy. 75. In addition to moving the exit, plans call for a separated free-flow lane between the service road and the highway itself for exiting traffic.
“It is really about moving people away from the 70 mile-per-hour traffic,” Renton said.
Questions on this plan included concerns about how this would affect bridges including the Travis Street overpass. Officials said this would require the bridge to be lengthened to cover the additional lane. Barnett said the bridge currently uses retaining walls, and he is uncertain how the bridge would be modified for this.
For westbound traffic, Barnett said Hwy. 82 would exit near Loy Lake Road. Officials with IEA proposed moving an off-ramp at Dauphine closer to Texoma Parkway, but Barnett said he feels its current location gives drivers enough time to maneuver.
Under the plan, traffic from La Salle Drive would be directed right onto Loy Lake instead of being allowed to cross onto the service road. This will help clear up what has become a difficult, five-point intersection.
“If we are going to route all the traffic from 82 that wants to go northbound on 75 through there, we need to cycle times to be as short as possible,” Barnett said.
“It is all residential and a confusing intersection anyway,” Sherman City Engineer Clint Philpott said.
On Hwy. 75 itself, the plan calls for the reversal of a southbound on-ramp just north of Cornerstone Drive. Barnett said this on ramp is too close to the intersection and has lead to some issues with motorists trying to change lanes after exiting Hwy. 82.
For motorists traveling south, the next on ramp would be at Lamberth Road, Barnett said. Barnett said traffic wishing to merge onto Hwy. 75 is expected to be routed through the Lamberth Street stop light. However, another proposed project, which would reverse the ramps from U.S. Highway 69 to U.S. Highway 91, may allow for the ramp to be moved before the stop light.
The corridor project, which was discussed throughout 2016, will expand the highway to three lanes each direction throughout Grayson County and see other improvements along the roadway.