State HWY 9 exit sign was unveiled on February 20, 2014.

COPPERAS COVE — Motorists who drive from Killeen to Gatesville will have a quicker commute once a new bypass around northeastern Copperas Cove opens up later this week.

State Highway 9 will open Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the project.

“This is going to be another great day in the city,” said Kevin Keller, city of Copperas Cove spokesman. “We are opening up this highway to increase traffic flow in and around the city.”

The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday on the new roadway, which can be accessed via the westbound U.S. Highway 190 on-ramp just before the Five Hills shopping center. From Copperas Cove, the highway can be accessed by taking Fort Hood’s Clark Road exit and then heading back toward the city.

Cove police and Texas Department of Transportation officials will direct traffic at the ramp, and the highway will open immediately after the ceremony, Keller said.

Construction for the $34.7 million, 3.2-mile highway began Feb. 14, 2011, according to the TxDOT Project Tracker website.

The new roadway will take drivers from U.S. 190 to North Farm-to-Market 116 between Courtney Lane and West Anderson Avenue.

Highway 9 should benefit Cove residents and area travelers, increase traffic safety and efficiency and decrease travel times to areas such as Gatesville, said Ken Roberts, a TxDOT spokesman.

“There is not a lot of access and egress along the way, but we hope (residents) say, ‘Wow, this saves a lot of time, and I like it a lot better,’” Roberts said.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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