Expanding 82

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- Transportation officials are planning a lane expansion for one the busiest roadways in North Texas. The project will transform more of the heavily-traveled U.S. Highway 82 eastbound from a two lane highway to four lanes.

After studying traffic patterns and car volume along U.S. 82, TXDOT officials say they will begin the much anticipated project at the beginning of next year.

While they say the expansion is necessary, it won't happen overnight.

"Approximately 12,000 cars per day are using that roadway, and there’s a lot of businesses opened up in Sherman and Denison, and we have a lot of traffic coming east to west." TXDOT engineer Noel Paramanantham says.

U.S. 82 from Bethany Road to Spur 1417 will be expanded starting at the beginning of 2008. Sherman Police say there have been 13 accidents at the intersection of Spur 1417 and 82, and along the two lane portion of 82, there have been even more.

"You have the cross traffic, anytime you have the cross traffic it crosses the highway or turnarounds where people pull out you know you need to watch what’s ahead of you." says Sherman Police Sgt. Bruce Dawsey.

The $6.6 million dollar project will expand the current two lane highway to four lanes, like the portion of 82 just west of the city.

"Even though we work on the plans and have it ready by September of 2008, we have a second segment and are still waiting on additional funds for it."

That second segment runs from Bethany Road to Highway 69 just north of Bells. When complete, the project will transform Highway 82 to two lanes in each direction all the way to Paris.

TXDOT officials say drivers shouldn't worry about delays during construction.

"There would be some traffic control, but for the most part six months out of that eight month project, the contractor should be able to work away from the traffic."

Authorities say the changes will ultimately improve U.S. 82, but during construction it's up to motorists to stay safe.

"Increased traffic, increased accidents. People are going to have to use some caution and use a little common sense."

Bidding on the project will begin in January. Construction is set to begin in March or April of 2008.

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