The Texas Department of Transportation is asking motorists to exercise caution as crews begin ramp improvements at the intersection of FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75.


Earlier this week, crews with contractor Ed Bell Construction Company started construction on a $2.3 million ramp reversal project at the intersection that will improve safety and access along the corridor.


“Motorists who regularly travel in this area may at times encounter temporary lane and shoulder closures while this work is underway,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Tim McAlavy said in a press release issued Thursday. “They are asked to pay special attention to all signs, barricades and traffic controls, and reduce their speed as they approach and travel cautiously through work zones.”


McAlavy described the project as primarily safety-related in nature and an update based on current roadway standards. Due to the flow toward and away from the intersection, McAlavy said it would be safer to reverse the orientation of the northbound ramps. The work zone for the project will also extend just over a mile south of the intersection.


“This project makes for safer access for traffic entering and exiting the highway at that intersection,” McAlavy said Friday.


As an added benefit, the improvements will also increase ease of access to properties adjacent to the highway corridor, include the future site of the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille that is under construction and nearby developments. Given the planned development along two corners of the intersection, Sherman city officials said the current layout would impede these projects.


“The ramp improvement project at FM 1417 will be vital for the development of Legacy Village,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said via email. “We anticipate a major increase in vehicle traffic at that intersection when the Schulman entertainment complex opens in late spring of 2019. Modernizing the ramp alignment will provide travelers from the south with easy and safe access to the movie, bowling, dining, and gaming options available at Sherman’s new southern retail hub.”


In late 2017, the city of Sherman agreed to pay the cost of the construction project, with the expense split between the city and the Sherman Economic Development Corp.


The project is the latest in a series of ramp reversals that TxDOT and local municipalities have pursued. In recent years, the city of Denison supported the reversal of ramps and a bridge expansion at Morton Street. Earlier this week, the Sherman-Denison Planning Organization formally added a similar ramp reversal project near Spur 503 to its four-year planning documents, setting the stage for the project to see work in 2019.


McAlavy said these projects can be fairly common as the standards for road construction and traffic flow change and are updated.


McAlavy said the project is expected to take no more than 149 working days. During this time, McAlavy said he expects that the current ramps will remain in service and access will not be interrupted during the construction project.