Sherman city leaders gave the OK to move forward with the extension of West Travis Street when they authorized officials Monday to advertise for construction proposals for the project.


The roadway, once complete, will connect FM 1417 and the U.S. Highway 75 service road through the Sherman Crossroads development and past the new Sherman High School. With Monday’s action, the city will begin to advertise for the second and third phases of the project, which is expected to cost about $7 million.


“That is the main goal of the project — to give east Sherman access to the new school,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said.


The project will see the construction of a new four-lane roadway with a median to add additional connectivity and capacity along the future high school site. Sherman already started work on the first two phases of the roadway project when it authorized work on the terminals on Crossroads Boulevard and FM 1417. Part of OB Groner Road was renamed West Travis Street and will serve as the western terminus.


The remaining phases will fill in the middle portion of the roadway, with one phase running from Moore Street to Northgate, with the other phase will continue to project to Crossroads Boulevard. Without the additional roadway, Strauch said some residents would need to go through several stop lights in order to reach the school. With the roadway, Strauch said it would be closer to a three-minute drive.


Director of Engineering Clint Philpott said a construction firm should be chosen later this summer ahead of the expected August start date for the work. Once construction has begun, Philpott said he expects work will take about 12 months to complete, but the project should be completed in time for the school year.


Philpott said there have been some changes to the original route of the roadway due to concerns with existing utility infrastructure in the area. The site will also require some filling due to existing streams and the site topography, he said.


Sherman has not completed acquisition of the right of way for this portion of the project, which will be completely new construction, but there have been preliminary agreements already put in place.


Other concerns that still need to be addressed include conversations with the Texas Department of Transportation on how best to address safety at the road’s intersection with FM 1417. Strauch said he could see a stop light being placed at the intersection, but nothing has officially been decided.


In addition to access to the school, city officials said the new roadway also promises to offer opportunities for new development and access to new parcels of land. Strauch said the city has already been approached by national retail chains that have shown interest in the site, but declined to say which.


“Any time you have a major draw like the high school, you are going to have retail and commercial that are interested in the hard corners for development,” he said.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com or @mhutchinsHD on Twitter.