A major Sherman roadway project just got $209,000 more expensive thanks to the need for a new retaining wall. The Sherman City Council has approved a change order to the ongoing West Travis Street extension project that will add a retaining wall, along with other improvements, to the scope of the project and bring the total cost for the project to $4.98 million.


The roadway, which will run from the U.S. Highway 75 service road to FM 1417, will serve as one of the major connectors to the new Sherman High School site once it opens in August. City officials previously said this new route would provide a quicker route to the high school and avoid several stop lights along FM 1417.


“Was there no way we couldn’t see this coming,” council member Sandra Melton said during Tuesday’s council meting.


Assistant City Manager Clint Philpott, who until recently served as director of engineering, said city leaders were aware of the possibility that a retaining wall would be needed. However, the city at the time elected for another plan that would have the project going through an existing gas easement.


“We submitted plans in hopes they (the gas company) would sign off on it, and they did not,” he said.


In order to keep the project moving forward on schedule, the city needed to fall back on the plans that included the use of a retaining wall near the proposed intersection of Travis and Northgate.


“It was contemplated and we hoped it would be accepted,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. ” … It wasn’t unforeseen, it just was not budgeted for because we were hoping for the best case.”


Despite the change order, Hefton said the project is still well below initial projected costs for the extension project. When the city first started contemplating the project, estimated place the cost as close to $7 million, however bids came in significantly below those estimates.


In addition to the retaining wall, the change order will also see additional sod added in medians and along the route. The project originally called for hydromulch to be sprayed along the route to help grass grow along the roadway. However, the contractor recommended sod as it would be easier to place and take root.


“That (hydromulch) takes a long time to take and because this project will be during the summer time and a great view corridor leading to our new high school, we wanted it to be a nicer look,” Hefton said.


Beyond aesthetics, Hefton said the project was also a practical decision as the grass would establish erosion control along the roadway faster than letting the grass grow through hydromulch.


Melton asked if the school district had been asked to partner for this portion of the project as it was of interest to both groups. Philpott said the city did not ask the district to split the project costs with the city.