Sherman drivers will soon need to put on the brakes while driving along portions of FM 1417. City Council unanimously voted Monday night to lower the speed limit along a section of FM 1417 to 45 mph, ahead of expected construction next month.

The Texas Department of Transportation requested that the city lower the posted speed limit on FM 1417 by 10 mph from about U.S Highway 82 to near the intersection with State Highway 56. This will allow for slower speeds as crews work on a widening of the roadway to four lanes starting in March.

City officials previously described the expansion of FM 1417 as a priority roadway project for Sherman as it will increase capacity and improve safety on what is becoming a major growth corridor. In addition to the new Sherman High School, which is slated to open in early 2021, multiple developers have voiced their intent to build large-scale planned developments along the corridor.

“It is about setting people’s expectations so that they understand the speed that they need to be going in that area, if there is construction going on there or not,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said.

City officials compared the reduction to a similar request that was approved by the council earlier this year that lowered the posted speed limit U.S. Highway 75 from 75 mph to 60 mph for the majority of the highway’s stretch through Sherman.

“This is going to be exactly the same thing we did in the last meeting on U.S. 75,” Strauch said. “It is basically creating a uniform, enforceable speed limit for the entire stretch of road that will be under construction for the duration of the project.”

The widening project is currently slated to be completed in about two-and-a-half years. Once the project is complete, TxDOT will conduct a traffic study to determine what is the most appropriate speed limit. As with U.S. 75, Strauch predicted that the speed limit would likely return to its current level, if not increase, due to additional capacity.

The current widening of FM 1417 is only one of multiple projects slated for the future. Once it is completed, Strauch said the city should be on track to move forward with sections beyond SH 56.