Representatives with the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority paved the road for an extension of the Dallas North Tollway into Grayson County recently when they approved a preferred route for a new spur roadway in South Grayson. The new spur will run from the Grayson County line north to FM 121 and later serve as the service road for the highway once construction progresses into Grayson County.

Representatives for the Texas Department of Transportation and engineering firm BGE said construction on the new spur will likely start in 2019 or 2020. This coincides with the construction of connectors in Collin and Denton Counties in preparation for highway construction.

“One of the parameters that we laid out from day one was that our route would be a route through property whose owners were willing to give their property for the road,” board member Bill Benton said, updating the board on the project. “We didn’t have any money allocated for right of way acquisition.”

Once completed, the toll road would enter the county from the south and eventually connect with U.S. Highway 75 near Denison.

TxDOT District Engineer Noel Paramanantham said the project first saw life in the late 2000s, when transit authorities started exploring the need of a northern extension to the toll road. A route study conducted by the North Texas Tollway Authority soon followed in 2010. Following the study, the project was handed to the GCRMA and regional interests.

As a part of the initial work, the NTTA offered a preliminary route. However, the new proposed route would avoid properties that were not willing to donate land for the road and related right of way. Mike Garrison, transportation director for BGE, said the new route is only slightly different from the original proposal.

Benton said representatives for the RMA spoke with property owners to gauge their interest in the project. In March, a public meeting was held to speak with property owners and gather input on the project. In general, Benton said many property owners saw an opportunity from the project, even when it involved the donation of land.

During the meeting earlier this week, Paramanantham said the spur project was originally envisioned as a county road. However, since then funding plans for the project have changed. Funding for the project would be split between TxDOT and the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization’s state funding allocation.

Earlier this month, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said before the Grayson County Commissioners that the project is expected to cost about $8 million. During the meeting, Benton noted that this roadway will benefit the county while not burdening local taxpayers with the cost.

Following the action, Paramanantham said the project is still at least one year out, as officials continue to complete studies for the project, collect public input and ultimately choose the final route for the roadway.