Killeen entities are spearheading an effort to give U.S. Highway 190 an additional name that may attract more businesses to Central Texas.

“What we are doing is gathering support to have the portion of U.S. 190 from Copperas Cove to Belton turned into an interstate highway,” said John Crutchfield, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce president. “We are not changing the name of U.S. 190. It will be just co-signed I-14.”

A dual designation for the highway should give the cities along the U.S. 190 corridor — Belton, Nolanville, Harker Heights, Killeen and Copperas Cove — some economic advantages that will help attract more businesses, Crutchfield said.

“It has economic development implications, because many times corporations want to be on an interstate highway,” he said.

When completing surveys by site selectors, the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, the chamber and the city cannot claim Killeen is on an interstate, which sometimes automatically removes it as a potential site, Crutchfield said.

“There are many economic development prospects that cross you off the list for not being on an interstate,” Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin said.

A lot of industries, especially those in manufacturing, want to move products by truck or rail.

While Central Texas has a transportation corridor that supports that traffic, it is not apparent to some of those businesses on paper, Corbin said.

“We don’t have that in Killeen,” Crutchfield said. “We are 17 miles off an (interstate) highway.”


The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation was among the first government entities to sign a resolution Oct. 24 to support the I-14 effort.

Interstate highway status for U.S. 190 could improve options for funding and economic opportunities, said Polo Enriquez, Cove EDC executive director. There shouldn’t be any downside to establishing the dual designation.

“I do agree that if you are not an interstate, some companies will not look at you,” Enriquez said about the site selection process.

Enriquez nor Crutchfield could recall the number of times Cove or Killeen had been withdrawn as the site of a new business because U.S. 190 lacks an interstate designation.

“I would think about a third of the proposals have wanted to know if we were on an interstate,” Crutchfield said. “It is a reason that we may not get considered. If you don’t meet (a company’s) minimum standards then you are not going to get considered, and that is on us.”

The companies Cove EDC tried to attract have been more interested in “5 to 55,” compared to interstate statues, Enriquez said. They want to make sure their trucks can go 55 miles per hour in less than five minutes. Cove offers that now, and the time will be shortened when the bypasses are completed.

The interstate status would, however, reinforce the city’s accessibility, Enriquez said.

Changing the name

Adding the dual designation could be easy, since U.S. 190 from Belton to Copperas Cove is already built to interstate standards with limited access and proper infrastructure, Crutchfield said.

“It looks like an interstate highway,” Corbin said. “It has the traffic of an interstate.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration’s website, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary may designate, as part of the Interstate System, a highway meeting all standards for interstate highways that are logical additions or connections to the system.

The interstate highway system was created to help mobilize the military, Corbin said.

“Here we are with one of the largest military bases in the United States, and wouldn’t it be nice to have an interstate?” Corbin said.

Crutchfield said the Killeen entities are currently getting local support through resolutions.

They will then garner support from the Texas Department of Transportation and the area’s representatives in Congress before heading to the federal agency.

“Hopefully we can get this done in a couple of months,” Crutchfield said. “It is not like we have to pass legislation or anything — that legislation already exists.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

(4) comments


'Killeen Groups leading effort to get additional name for U.S. Highway 190'

Harker Heights seems to be having success at doing it, attracting more business to the area. Copperas Cove seems to be having success doing it, attracting more business to the area. Even Lampasas seems to be having success doing it, attracting more business to the area. Now by changing the designation of the highway to one of an interstate designation, this is going to make all the difference in the world is hoping for a 'pie in the sky'.

I do not see what difference the designation of the highway makes. It would seem to me that 'a company' would be more interested in rather they had rail service, or transportation motor freight availability and this would hinge on the number of outlets, roadways leading into and out of the city, not whether or not they had a designation of 'interstate' to tack onto the roadway. Also, I've always had a preconceived notion that the designation of 'interstate' was regulated by 'having to cross at least 1 border', not 35 to 40 miles of interstate roadway. Thus an 'interstate'.

From what I see, presently, Killeen is building a structure to house merchandise. Lampasas is going to be the home to Crane, a crane and full service and heavy equipment is relocating from California. Copperas Cove is expanding, drawing more stores into the Mall.

If they are successful at their bid to change the designation to 'an internet', where along the 'internet do they plan on building? As I see it, '190' is completely full along the roadway with eating establishments, and car lots. I don't see space for new establishments. I use the word 'establishments' as I don't see anything else wanting to occupy these areas. So where do you go except in a southerly direction, say out where the police department is located. Being in that location, I don't see where the 'interstate' designation is going to be a selling point. Sorry for this viewpoint.


The reason I ask about I-14 being the real number is that it was already proposed for a highway in the southeast:


On one hand, it's a little silly for companies to "automatically" not consider locating somewhere without an interstate, just because of the *name* of the highway, and not consider the condition of the road, its method of construction, the populace it would serve, the amount of traffic and commerce in the area, etc.

But there *are* companies that do this.

The writer said above that there doesn't appear to be any downside to renaming the road "Interstate". We can overlook the minor inconveniences of adding additional signage and relearning the name of the highway.

(Out of curiosity, is "I-14" just an example, or is that the actual proposed number?)


Why not just name the frontage roads "Interstate East or West"?

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