Grayson County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday authorizing the execution of a funding agreement between the county and the state for a project to reconstruct and widen U.S. Highway 75 from a four-lane roadway to six lane of traffic. The area to be worked on, known as “the gap,” is from FM 1417 to State Highway 91, or Texoma Parkway, that does not meet current interstate standards.
The county will contribute $4,663,832 to the project. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the county has already issued the bonds to pay for its part of the project and expects to have the money on Wednesday.
Commissioners issued $10 million in bonds to leverage additional state funds last month. That bond will cover the first of two expected phases of improvements to the highway and encompass several individual projects. Arguably the largest of these first-phase projects, in terms of cost, is a restructuring of the intersection of Hwy. 75 and U.S. Highway 82.
Previously, officials with the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization said the project would include moving the ramps along the intersection and the construction of new lanes on the service road to help alleviate congestion. SDMPO Executive Director Clay Barnett said moving back the ramps and the additional lanes will allow traffic more time and space to maneuver when approaching the intersection.
Meanwhile, the city of Denison will see improvements to the intersection of Spur 503 when crews convert the intersection into a more conventional intersection with connections to the access road and new ramps. In the past, officials with Denison said this was an important access project for the city because of the development ongoing at the site on all four corners.
The third and final portion of the first phase will see improvements to what officials have described as “the gap.”
Grayson County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire said the county has always thought of this project in conjunction with the Spur 503 project and the project to improve the Hwy. 75/Hwy. 82 interchange as being one thing, but the state funds each of the projects out of a different pot of money. So the county is taking the projects one at at time as well.
Magers said he received an email from the city of Sherman saying the city will consider its part of the funding for the gap project in November. The county, Magers said, wants to get its local match on the project in to TxDOT prior to the legislative session beginning in January.
“That way, no one will be able to divert,” he said of the money the state is going to put into the project, ensuring the Grayson County projects jump ahead of the hundreds of other projects from which TxDOT could choose to complete.
In addition, the commissioners approved the final plat of 121 Majors and of the Gage Road Addition. They also approved a project to move Refuge Road, in Precinct 4, approximately 30 feet north of its present location between Airport Road and State Highway 289.
Herald Democrat reporter Michael Hutchins contributed to this article.