A widening of U.S. Highway 75, bridge improvements along FM 1417 and a FM 121 bypass are among the projects that the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization plans to pursue over the next decade.
These projects, and others planned through the year 2045, were recently discussed and approved by the advisory committee as a part of the MPO’s 25-year Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Despite the long reach of the document, which now needs approval by the policy board, recent discussions have focused heavily on the short term.
“We will continue to place an emphasis on U.S. (Highway) 75,” SDMPO Executive Director Clay Barnett said. “It is not only our highest traffic corridor in Grayson County, but also the entire Paris District.”
The document only gave dates for projects before 2030, with other projects listed without a date. The projects that are slated between 2020 and 2024 have already been funded through the MPO or other funding sources, Barnett said.
Work on improving U.S. Hwy. 75 will remain a focus throughout the 2020s as four of the projects will be focused on the corridor, while others will focus on intersections between the highway and other roadways. A fourth project, that will see a reversal of the ramps along Spur 503 in Denison is also slated to see work this year.
The year 2020 will see the start of major improvements to the highway aimed at closing what officials have referred to as “the gap” — the one section of the highway in Texas that is not to interstate standards. The $161 million project will see a four-mile stretch of U.S. 75 from FM 1417 to State Highway 91 brought up to modern standards and widened to feature six lanes. The project will also include improvements to the intersection of U.S. 75 and U.S. Highway 82 aimed at alleviating congestion and traffic while approaching the intersection.
Two other projects slated for 2024, 2027 and 2029 will see the widening of the highway extended. The first project will stretch from The Collin County Line to FM 902. A second project will widen the highway SH 91 to Spur 503, while the final project will pick up work in south Grayson and run from FM 902 to FM 1417.
“The most complaints we have on 75 is between 91 and 503,” Barnett said. “It is well beyond the 30 year design life and it is falling apart. The roads are literally crumbling faster than we can get them fixed.”
Barnett noted that this is a priority project for both the MPO and the Texas Department of Transportation, who spend nearly $3 million in repairs to the roadway each year.
Another project late in the decade will see work to reconstruct the bridge on FM 1417 at State Highway 56. This project has been a major priority for the city of Sherman, who is looking to improve the corridor with the new Sherman High School expected to open next year.
Barnett said the MPO has proposed other improvement projects along the FM 1417 corridor, but others have been delayed due to funding limitations. The city estimated the project cost at about $2.9 million, but Barnett said it would likely be significantly higher.
The final project slated for 2030 would see improvements to County Line Road ahead of expected development near Van Alstyne. The project cost will likely exceed what the MPO is allocated in one year and would require additional funding, Barnett said.