Going into the holiday season, both Texas Department of Transportation projects wrapping around town remain on schedule to end in late 2013.
“(The contractors) will be shut down over (parts of) the holiday period,” said Charles Smith, a project manager for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Typically, contractors such as San Diego-based Ledcor, which is working on State Highway 9, and Baton Rouge-based James Construction, which is building the U.S. Highway 190 bypass, ask for several days off around Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Smith.
The time off shouldn’t interfere with their August 2013 construction deadline for Highway 9 and the December 2013 completion date for the U.S. 190 bypass project.
The Highway 9 project, which will take drivers from U.S. 190 east of Copperas Cove to North Farm-to-Market 116 just south of Lutheran Church Road, has about 170 days of construction work left, according to a TxDOT report released earlier this month.
The bypass project, which will create a more than five-mile loop around the south side of Copperas Cove and become U.S. 190 when complete, has about 330 days of construction work left, according to another report released earlier this month.
While crews stopped work for Thursday’s holiday traffic and will mostly shut down for Christmas, TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said residents should remain mindful of the construction zones.
There are still detours, lane closures, warning devices and construction equipment along portions of these projects, Smith said.
“We are still working over there on the west end of the project in the westbound portion of (U.S. 190),” said Smith, noting a lane closure for a westbound U.S. 190 lane in the area of Farm-to-Market 2657.
The work there will create the interchange between the existing roadway and the future highway.
Contractors also are laying portions of the roadway’s base in the area of Old Copperas Cove Road, said Smith. While the final surface won’t be completed until the end of the project, this layer of base material helps protect the subgrade of the road until the final paving process takes place.
Blasting for a 95-foot hillside cut should mostly be finished, but the contractor is still building a retaining wall for the new cliff sides, Smith said.
Six of the eight bridges in the project are almost completed with the South Farm-to-Market 116 and the U.S. 190 fly-over remaining, Smith said.
James Construction is waiting for Ledcor to finish the new U.S. 190 roadway that will go under the fly-over before starting the bridge, he said. The lower roadway should be completed by the end of the month.
The landfill relocation needs to be completed before the FM 116 bridge can be started, Smith said. Relocating the landfill should be about a month from completion and then the contractor can continue building the approach for the bridge.
State Highway 9 construction
Ledcor’s work on the state highway project is mostly in the area of U.S. 190 on the east side of Copperas Cove.
“Most of the stuff that people will see is right there on 190,” Smith said. “They are building the header for the overpass and the railway.”
Westbound traffic will continue to be detoured on the lanes currently there while construction in the highway’s median is under way, Smith said. It should be another two to three months before they are finished and switch the lanes back.
A crossover intersection should be started sometime soon for the entrance of the Five Hills shopping center and finished by the middle of December with temporary signals, said Smith.
Areas along north FM 116 are under construction as well.
The contractor is working on the northbound lanes for the state highway, Smith said. In upcoming months, there will be some lane changes in the area.
Roberts said the contractor has maintained a steady schedule for these projects and has even been ahead of projections at times.
“We are pleased on how things are progressing, and we think the residents are going to be pleased with the finished product,” he said.