The Texas Transportation Commission recently recognized a Grayson County roadway as a top priority corridor for the entire state of Texas.
In late August, the Commission approved its Texas Transportation Plan 2050, which included a list of 25 priority corridors across the state. U.S. Highway 75 ranked in on the list as the 14th highest priority corridor.
"I think this shows that shows there is a lot of interest in U.S. 75 on the state level from the commission," said Clay Barnett, director of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization.
In addition to recognizing the corridor, the commission also allocated funds for further improvements to the roadway in Grayson County during the August meeting.
Barnett said that the recognition goes a lot way toward bringing awareness to the transportation needs along the corridor. While the ongoing "gap" project — a $155 million project focused on bringing a four-mile stretch of highway to interstate standards — is ongoing in south Sherman, there is still a need.
Barnett attributed the newly-found recognition to efforts by local organizations to highlight the status of transit in Grayson County. Among these efforts was a study by the SDMPO into freight traffic along U.S. Hwy. 75.
"I think that our efforts on freight went a long way on recognition," he said. "We were able to show that there is more total traffic and freight moved on U.S. 75 than there is on I-35 in Cooke County and more total traffic than there is on I-30 in Hunt."
Through this recognition, Barnett said he hopes the region will be able to acquire more funding from the state level for improvements to the highway. This is already showing immediate results.
During the August meeting, the TTC approved its 2021 United Transportation Program, which included $70 million toward widening U.S. Highway 75 from U.S. Hwy. 82 to Loy Lake Road in Denison.
Barnett said the improvements would be similar to the ongoing widening taking place as a part of the gap project, and would expand the roadway from four lanes to six lanes.
"This is just another segment that we are going to widen and update," he said. "I do not think this segment hasn’t had anything done to it other than maintenance since the 1980s.
"If you’ve driven that portion of the roadway, it is pretty rough. They are having issues with the concrete and it is in need of a reconstruction."
The statewide UTP has the project taking place somewhere in the five- to 10-year range, but Barnett said he expects it will come some time around 2027.
In the mean time other projects are slated to take place. However, Barnett said the long term goal is to have full six lane connectivity through the county.
"We have the section under construction now and in 2024 we have the section from 902 down to the county line," he said. "I hope, as it is listed as the 14th most priority roadway in the state, in the near future we would see six lanes all the way from the county line all the way to the Red River."