WILLIAM C. WADSACK/HERALD DEMOCRAT
The Texas Department of Transportation has designated $5.6 million in this year’s budget to widen the Loy Lake Road bridge over Hwy. 75 in Sherman. The bridge, which connects the Sherman Commons and Town Center shopping centers often backs up during busy times of the day.
WILLIAM C. WADSACK/HERALD DEMOCRAT
Workers with the Texas Department of Transportation prepare Texoma Parkway for additional concrete pavement repair and a mill and overlay hot mix Friday morning near Midway Mall.
City Engineer Clay Barnett recently updated the Sherman City Council on the status of the current, and future, road projects of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization. Barnett focused on three projects in the city and outlined plans for the next three years.
The biggest project the city engineer discussed concerned the planned widening of the Loy Lake Road bridge over U.S. Hwy 75. Barnett showed a picture he’d taken of traffic backing up from the intersection in front of the Sherman Town Center shopping center along the northbound lane on the Loy Lake Bridge and blocking the Hwy. 75 service road next to the Sherman Commons shopping center.
“Traffic actually starts at that traffic signal and goes all the way through the Loy Lake intersection and starts to stack up on this side,” Barnett said. “So this roadway is definitely in need of widening.”
The Texas Department of Transportation has designated $5.6 million in this year’s budget for the project. The city engineer explained that the owner of the Sherman Commons has asked to partner with the city and TxDOT to raise the service road to make the shopping center easier to spot, as well as add a new entry into the development.
“That is something that we’re looking at; we’re working with both TxDOT and the developer in order to get that accomplished,” Barnett said. “It has delayed the project a little bit, but we’re working as diligently as we can on that.”
The project, which is scheduled for 2013, will also require Loy Lake Road be widened beyond the bridge over Hwy. 75, which will mean a cost to the city. Robby Hefton, Sherman’s assistant city manager and chief financial officer, said the city could use funds left over from bond issuances in 2008 and money collected from tax increment financing zones to pay for their portion of the project once it is time to do so.
“We’re still working with TxDOT and the developer in order to iron out an intersection that everybody’s happy with,” Barnett said.
The Council also heard about the currently underway concrete pavement repair and mill and overlay hot mix being done on Texoma Parkway near Midway Mall.
“If you’ve seen, they’ve actually replaced some of the concrete areas,” Barnett said.
The project, which has a budget of $2,425,000, is expected to be completed in April of this year.
The third project Barnett detailed was the recently-completed work on U.S. Hwy. 82 and Travis Street.
“The project involved widening Travis Street and the frontage road at U.S. 82 and installing traffic signals and building a new city street,” Barnett said. “We do ask, on the new street, you make a left there instead of trying to go down and make a left around the median. That’s something that TxDOT had asked me to mention.”
Looking to the future, the city engineer explained that 2014 will see the widening and overlay of Hwy. 82 from Texoma Parkway to near the Sherman city limits. Relocating the existing Hwy. 75 exit ramp to FM 1417 one mile north is on the slate for 2015, as well as adding a lane to the northbound service lane of Hwy. 75 at Loy Lake Road. In 2016, the Hwy. 75 bridge on Post Oak Creek is expected to be replaced.
“We actually talked to TxDOT about raising that bridge,” Barnett said. “The pricetag on that is $25 million, so we won’t be doing that project, but they will be replacing the bridge.”
Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker said the Council was excited about the projects slated for this year.
“People who live here and work here will appreciate some of those improvements,” Wacker said. “We like to see the work getting done.”