The Texas Department of Transportation will host a public meeting in Sherman Thursday night to unveil schematics and discuss its plans to expand and improve U.S. Highway 75 between Sherman and Denison.

The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. and will be held in the Sherman Municipal Ballroom. TxDOT project engineers and representatives will be on hand to show renderings of the proposed construction and answer questions from community members. The $161 million improvement project stretches from FM 1417 in Sherman to FM 120 in Denison and is meant to accommodate increased passenger and freight traffic, improve freeway ramps, elevate lanes and update interchanges, including that of U.S. 75 and State Highway 82. Construction is set to begin in December 2019.

“It’s an aging highway,” TxDOT Paris District Public Information Officer Tim McAlavy said Wednesday. “All you have to do is take a look at what TxDOT has been doing from McKinney south. That’s much different even than what it was just five years ago.”

McAlavy said a lead contractor had not yet been named, making it too early to say how the projects might be sequenced or provide a specific completion date.

“When we look at a project like this, we have to figure out how to do it in phases,” McAlavy said. “It’s difficult to get the money necessary to do it all at once, so we do it in what we call ‘phase construction.’ This 75 project is going to be a start in the overall goal of improving 75 all the way to the Red River.”

The project has received financial support from local entities, with pledges for $28 million from the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization and from Grayson County, which will issue $10 million in debt-service bonds to fund its contribution. TxDOT will finance the remaining $123 million.

McAlavy said because the project is funded with taxpayer dollars, he hoped members of public would take advantage of the invitation to learn about the project on Thursday night and feel free share their thoughts and ask questions.

“If they’re concerned about travel conditions and future suitability of U.S. 75, please come out and give us your input,” McAlavy said. “Sure, it might take two hours out of your evening, but we want to know what you think. This is your road that we’re building for you, so we want to hear from everybody.”

The Sherman Municipal Ballroom is located at 405 North Rusk Street.