The city of Sherman will pay nearly $97,500 for right of way and easement access ahead of next year’s improvements to U.S. Highway 75. This came as a part of an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, who is expected to start large-scale improvements to bring the highway to interstate standards starting sometime in early 2020.

The project will see the expansion of the highway to six lanes for a four mile stretch of highway from FM 1417 to State Highway 91. The section of roadway has been referred to as “the gap” by county leaders as it is the only section of Hwy. 75 in Texas not built to interstate standards. The project will also include improvements to the intersection of U.S. 75 and U.S. 82 to alleviate traffic concerns on the service roads.

“As a part of the (Hwy.) 75 gap project, we are require to participate in right of way costs for this project,” Sherman Director of Engineering Clint Philpott said. “Our contribution is 10 percent.”

The project was originally not expected to have any right of way costs, but Philpott said TxDOT identified several places where it would be needed. The project scope now includes right of way acquisition along a railroad crossing bridge and three drainage easements.

City Manager Robby Hefton said the railroad bridge makes up the bulk of the cost and the remaining three easements only make up 20 percent of the cost.

In total, the right of way acquisition is expected to cost nearly $975,000, but the city will only be held to its 10 percent, Philpott said. This is a fixed cost for Sherman, who will not be responsible for additional expense if more land is deemed necessary for the project.

Sherman officials said they were unsure whether there would be additional costs related to the project as it moves forward in the design phase.

In addition to widening the roadway, the project will also see other improvements aimed at increasing safety. The ramps will be redesigned with longer approaches that reflect modern highway speeds, among other improvements.

The project is currently being bid out by TxDOT, with construction expected to begin as early as January.