Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation are seeking local insight into future renovations and improvements on U.S. Highway 75. Following an increase in expected state funding, the agency is working with the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization on a list of priorities, including the construction of additional lanes and future work on one of North Texas’ major freight lanes.

Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation are seeking local insight into future renovations and improvements on U.S. Highway 75. Following an increase in expected state funding, the agency is working with the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization on a list of priorities, including the construction of additional lanes and future work on one of North Texas’ major freight lanes.


"What we are basically looking at for the (Hwy.) 75 corridor is breaking it up into manageable projects we can work on in the future," TxDOT Paris District Engineer Paul Montgomery said on Friday.


Montgomery met with members of the MPO’s Policy Board and Technical Advisory Committee, collectively known as the Hwy. 75 steering committee, on Wednesday to start the process of writing a 20-year plan for the highway. This will allow local representatives to determine where trouble spots are along the entire corridor stretching from the Collin County border north to the Red River, Montgomery said.


"TxDOT does not want to just come into a community and tell them what we are going to do," he said.


Montgomery drew comparisons to current work and studies being conducted on Interstate 30, which also falls in the Paris District. With plans starting on Hwy. 75, Montgomery said both of the district’s two main highways are on the path toward improvements in the future.


Discussions on improvements started in July through the advisory committee, MPO Director Karl Welzenbach said on Friday. As TxDOT expressed mutual interest in the improvements, it was decided that a joint committee should be formed, he said.


The move to form a comprehensive plan for the roadway comes as TxDOT is expected to receive increased funding with the passage of Proposition 1 in 2014 and Proposition 7 in 2015. Through these two pieces of legislation, which divert funds from oil and gas taxes and vehicle sales taxes to roadway funding, Montgomery said TxDOT could see about $5 billion in additional funding statewide starting in 2019.


By starting to plan well in advance, Welzenbach said TxDOT and MPO will have a number of projects ready to quickly start as soon as the funds are available from the state of Texas.


Welzenbach said these funds would be used to bring the roadway up to modern freeway standards, including upgrading the highway to six lanes, increased bridge clearance and improved spacing between exits. Welzenbach also said the study would look into improvements aimed at preventing flooding near Post Oak Creek.


Welzenbach noted that the corridor has many overpasses and bridges that could require extensive and costly work to bring them up to modern freeway recommendations.


Montgomery said discussions have centered around the intersection of Hwy. 75 and U.S. Hwy. 82 thus far as a focal point for improvements. Welzenbach said no recommendations have been made regarding the site yet, but estimated the cost of a major construction project at about $100 million, making it the most expensive roadway project in Grayson County.


In addition to funds from TxDOT, Welzenbach said the project may also be eligible for federal funds as Hwy. 75 represents a major freight corridor.


In moving forward, Montgomery said TxDOT is considering similar plans for other roadways, including FM 1417 and Hwy. 82, on a smaller scale.