SHERMAN, Texas -- The Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization met with Texas Department of Transportation engineers on Wednesday to discuss future renovations to the county's main thoroughfare.
At Wednesday's meeting, it was clear that several question marks remain in the plans to redo U.S. Highway 75.
Nonetheless, Grayson County leaders are excited about the upcoming improvements,and say they're ready to do whatever is necessary to get construction started.
"The bottom line is this: transportation is the key to economic development," Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said.
Grayson County is poised for an economic boom, and local leaders want infrastructure to keep pace.
That means a complete rebuild of U.S. Highway 75 from the county line to the Red River. "We want to be ahead of the growth and manage the growth, not be gridlocked with congestion, and this is the first step towards making that happen," Magers said.
Plenty of work remains before construction can begin, but TxDOT has officially moved into the planning phase for this project.
"It may be six months before we can look at how they would like to attack the corridor and then another year on top of that to develop the schematics," Paris District Engineer Paul Montgomery said.
In the next six months, TxDOT engineers also hope they'll be able to answer more questions about how the project will be paid for.
"We don't know what the funding situation is going to be, so we need to prepare for anything we can get," Montgomery said.
Local officials say they're ready to start work now on projects that could ease construction on U.S. Highway 75 further down the road. "Where can we go spend dollars today and make the biggest impact," Magers questioned.
But drivers don't need to prepare for detours and construction barrels just yet. TxDOT officials do not anticipate starting any significant projects along U.S. Highway 75 until 2019.
TxDOT officials estimate that the project will take 10-20 years to complete, and when finished, U.S. Highway 75 will be a six lane road with continuous access roads on both sides.