As the Texas Department of Transportation plans nearly $161 million series of improvements to U.S. Highway 75, the city of Sherman is requesting bids for a project that will set the stage for improvements to the highway next year.

The Sherman City Council recently authorized city staff to advertise a project that would see a water line and sewer line relocated at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 75 and Center Street.

Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said the project was one of many that TxDOT asked the city to complete for the upcoming highway improvements. In the case of Center Street, TxDOT plans to replace the bridge over the roadway.

“The space where the water and sewer lines are is where TxDOT wants to put the piers,” Strauch said.

In the case of the vast majority of the projects, the city was able to complete them relatively easily, Strauch said, and the improvements at Center Street are larger in scope than the other required projects. At this point, Strauch believes that this will be the only large-scale project ahead of the highway improvements, but could not rule out something coming up.

The project calls for 550 feet of sewer lines and 276 water line to be relocated away from their current location. Strauch said the project likely will result in lane closures near the intersection, but city staff do not believe water or sewer services will be affected.

City staff estimates that the project will cost nearly $450,000 once bids come in and the city will be responsible for financing the line relocation as it currently sits in the right of way of the highway.

The highway improvement will close what county and local leaders have dubbed “the gap” on U.S. 75 — a four-mile stretch of highway from FM 1417 to State Highway 91 that is not at interstate standards. In addition to the improvements at the gap, the project will also see improvements to the intersection of U.S. 75 and U.S. 82 to alleviate congestion and traffic concerns.

Clay Barnett, executive director of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization, said TxDOT is currently putting the highway project out for bid. When the project does begin, Barnett said he expects crews will begin work at several sections at the same time, but could not comment specifically on the Center Street bridge. Construction could begin as early as January, but Barnett said he was unsure of TxDOT’s timetables for the project.