The city of Sherman will have help directing traffic during upcoming improvements U.S. Highway 75.


As work on the nearly $160 million U.S. Hwy. 75 “gap” project approaches early this year, contractor Zachry Construction is asking the city of Sherman to help direct traffic throughout the three-year project. However, the demand is larger than what the Sherman Police Department can offer, officials said.


City Council approved a series of local agreements with neighboring police departments to provide traffic control services throughout the project.


“Being as we are a smaller department, we cannot fill all of that need,” Assistant Sherman Police Chief Jason Jeffcoat said.


During Monday’s city council meeting, the city approved agreements with Denison, Howe Van Alstyne and Pottsboro to provide traffic services for the project. Throughout the construction project, crews will need to close various lanes and will require assistance from off-duty police officers in doing so, Jeffcoat said.


In total, city officials said that Zachry estimates that nearly 9,000 man-hours will be needed for traffic control throughout the project. The demand will range from three officers and patrol vehicles to up to 15 officers during larger closures, Jeffcoat said.


Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said some officers work up to 12 hours a day, and would only be available for another four hours maximum. The majority of the closures and service would be during night and non-peak hours, he added.


Jeffcoat noted that these officers would not be used for traffic enforcement and simply would be there to assist in lane closure and keeping construction zones safe for crews.


Under the agreements, the cities will pay their officers for their service and invoice the city of Sherman for the expense. Sherman in turn would then invoice Zachry for these costs. Strauch noted that the city is expected to break even on this agreement, and this would not be a revenue source for the city.


The U.S. Hwy. 75 project was nicknamed “the gap” project as it would see improvement to the one piece of U.S. Hwy. 75 in Texas that is not at interstate standards. In addition to bringing it up to standard, the project will also see improvement to the intersection of Hwy. 75 and U.S. Highway 82 to alleviate congestion issues, among other improvements.


In its contract with the Texas Department of Transportation, Zachry said it expects to have the project completed within 800 days. Jeffcoat said road closures could start as early as this weekend.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com. For more information, visit www.heralddemocrat.com and search for “Closing the US 75 Gap.”