The Sherman-Denison Planning Organization recently presented a view of future roadway plans for Grayson County when it released a draft of its upcoming countywide thoroughfare plan. The unveiling brought in representatives from across the county to weigh in on the needs of their individual communities.
Consultants with engineering firm Huitt-Zollars presented a map that outlined what are expected to be the long-term major roadways for north-south and east-west traffic, arterials and other major connectors through the year 2050. This map included current roads, but also highlighted recommended future roads, including the proposed Grayson County Toll Road, and other realignments.
“The goal of this is to seamlessly get your car from one side of the county to the other without too many headaches,” SDMPO Executive Director Clay Barnett said.
Huitt-Zollars planner Mike McAnelly said the plan’s scope extends through the year 2050, but the implications and impact will likely be felt for closer to 100 years. The planning document will also assist officials in future design be allowing them to identify and acquire right-of-ways that will be needed for future growth.
Work on the countywide thoroughfare plan first saw light in August, with calls from county leaders to draft a document that highlighted the transit needs and routes across Grayson County.
The report found the major north-south and east-west routes are U.S. Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 82, respectively. Meanwhile, other roads, including Texoma Parkway and FM 503 are listed among the larger arterial roads and routes in the county.
Representing the city of Denison, Steven Doss said the map reflected a lot of the changes that the city is seeing during the drafting of its upcoming comprehensive plan, a guide to favored land use for the city. Doss noted that the document is also being drafted by Huitt-Zollars.
Doss said the main concern for the city of Denison currently is its east-west arterials and routes, which have been an issue in the past. With development in Preston Harbor, a proposed lake-front development, expected in the years to come, Doss said the need extends to future growth. Additionally, this will help link downtown Denison to other parts of the city, he said.
“They (city officials) want to tie downtown to the lake, but right now how (do you do that),” Doss said. “We have plenty of north-south, but east-west still needs to be refined.”
Doss said some of the new roadways or reroutes, including a new road near the intersection of Spur 503 and Hwy. 75, would not be plausible due to ongoing development in the area. Others, including a new bridge over a creek, would likely be cost prohibitive, he said.
Still, Doss said some of the proposed routes would help Denison with east-west connectivity. The plan outlines a proposed new roadway between FM 1417 and FM 131.
Sherman Director of Engineering Clint Philpott said the plan closely matched what the city of Sherman was anticipating and he had no concerns. The western portions of the city, which are seeing new developments, is a priority for road connectivity, he said. Among the Sherman projects outlined in the plan was a connection for West Travis Street that has been a long-standing goal for the city.
“The plan seems to be, as a whole, moving along good,” Philpott said.
Len McManus, who serves as the contracted engineer for Van Alstyne, said he was mostly happy with the plan, but did have some concerns that he notes about connections into downtown Van Alstyne.
“We will have to see what the council wants to do about that, but we do have some alternatives we can propose,” he said.
Overall, Barnett said he was happy with the results of the plan, and had few concerns.
“It is a very good plan,” he said. “You can tell by the limited number of comments that most people are happy with it.”
In order to complete the document, planners have asked for permitting and subdivision information from all of the cities. This comes following a presentation by Huitt-Zollars and Community Development Strategies earlier this month on demographics studies that will be a part of the thoroughfare plan.
The initial presentation estimated the Grayson County population at more than 330,000 by 2050 with growth mainly along the Hwy. 75 corridor. Barnett said some of the communities raised concerns that the report did not take in account some developments or other planned growth.
Barnett said the SDMPO is expected to discuss the document again during two meetings in March.