• November 27, 2014

Cove highway project closer to becoming reality

‘90 percent complete’

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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 4:30 am

COPPERAS COVE — State Highway 9 and the U.S. Highway 190 bypass are nearing completion.

The original estimated work “time is out, but we are 90 percent complete,” on Highway 9, said Charles Smith, Texas Department of Transportation’s project manager for the site.

The state added more work to the project on U.S. 190 near the Five Hills shopping center, such as additional lanes and a stoplight, which meant more time for the work to be completed. The new 3.2-mile highway, which will take motorists from U.S. 190 to north Farm-to-Market 116 near Courtney Lane, now is scheduled for completion in January or February.

The 5.2-mile U.S. 190 bypass project is about 82 percent complete, and the contractor, Baton Rouge, La.-based James Construction, has used about 90 percent of its estimated time. The bypass will become the new U.S. 190 and take traffic around Copperas Cove from east of the Five Hills shopping center to west of Farm-to-Market 2657.

“We are looking at a midspring time frame with a ribbon cutting in April or May time frame,” said Ken Roberts, a TxDOT spokesman.

The vast majority of the new U.S. 190 is paved already and is awaiting a final layer of 1½ to 2 inches of road surface, Smith said. Most of the bridges in the project’s scope are completed with the exception of the Farm-to-Market 3046 overpass.

The access roads running between FM 3046 and FM 116 still need to be completed, so the contractor can work and close a portion of FM 3046 in the future.

Drivers who use FM 3046 during that time will have to use the new road surface to continue north and south in the area.

“We are trying to get good weather to do that during Christmas break to minimize the impact on the school in the area,” Smith said of the 3046 closure.

Work on the project is increasing for the highway’s western tie-in to U.S, 190.

“The vast majority of work that the public will see is off of (Farm-to-Market) 2657,” Smith said.

Highway 9’s contractor, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ledcor Inc., already has the majority of the final road surface down.

Project areas still needing work include final road surface on North FM 116, a small portion of the highway in the area of 116 and some of the bridges and guard rails need to be finished on the BNSF Railroad overpass and the U.S. Highway 190 tie-in.

Old Georgetown Road, which accesses Fort Hood, also needs to be paved.

These projects have been in planning stage for a long time and now that they are almost complete, the traveling public can look forward to greater access in the area, Roberts said.

“This is something that is going to benefit the community,” Roberts said. “Once traffic starts flowing much more efficiently, (congestion) just kind of disappears. It is going to be a much safer and much more efficient system of traffic.”

Highway 9 is a $39 million project and the U.S. 190 bypass is a $64 million project.

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