Sherman will be expanding a roadway project that is expected to add additional access to the future Sherman High School. Last week, the City Council approved a $445,000 change order to its contract with Lynn Vessels Construction for phases two and three of the West Travis Extension.


This new change order will add a 710-foot extension of Steeplechase Drive to the scope of the project’s scope.


"This is the result of protracted negotiations with the school district over what the north entrance of their facility would look like," Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. "At first we thought they would just have a really long driveway going in, but ... for the long term development of the city a city street rather than a drive was a better option."


Strauch noted that the project represents a partnership with the city and district, who will be picking up about 10 percent of the change order cost.


This latest change order — the second for the West Travis Project — brings to total cost for phases two and three to $5.43 million. One of the main purposes of the Travis project was to connect FM 1417 at the school site to the U.S. Highway 75 service road and provide an additional route to the school.


Earlier this year, the city discussed an additional road project that would extend Steeplechase and provide access to the northern side of the school site.


In addition to serving the school site, Strauch said the project will support expected development in the area, including the build out of the Pebblebrook addition to the north.


With these two projects, and a third expanding Moore Street, the city is currently working on road projects along three sides of the school site.


City officials said the purpose of the change order is to expedite the process and to make use of cost savings the city has seen on the project. Previously, bids for West Travis came in about 30 percent below engineers estimates due to Lynn Vessels’ proximity and work in the area, which reduced overhead and transportation costs.


"It is really about finding cost savings where we can, and we already have the contractor out there mobilized and working on these roads as is," Strauch said.


City Manager Robby Hefton said that even with the change order the project is still about $2 million below budget.


This latest addition brings to total city investment in the roads surrounding the high school to more than $9 million.


Strauch said the primary lanes of Travis Street have been completed, but connections to intersecting roads still need to be completed, as does work on sidewalks and stormdrains.


Work on $1.3 million of improvements on Moore Street is also approaching completion, however a $2.5 million second phase from Park Street to FM 1417 is expected to be discussed as a part of next year’s budget.


"That road is also tied to the Munson development, so that is another mitigating factor there," Strauch said.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.