HARKER HEIGHTS — City Council members went back to the drawing board last week after their request from the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization for $3.5 million of Category 7 funds was not fully met.
Unlike five other area roadway projects, which received all the funding they applied for, Harker Heights received only a portion of the funding it sought to reconfigure and add lanes to Farm-to-Market 2410 over U.S. Highway 190 and create a left-turn lane.
City Manager Steve Carpenter estimated the cost of the project to be $4.5 million, with $3.5 million coming from Category 7 funds and the city providing $1 million. The city will be required to match this amount by 20 percent or $114,933 for a total amount of $689,596, Carpenter said.
KTMPO awarded Heights $575,000 for FM 2410 phase 1, which includes widening FM 2410 from Commercial Drive to Ann Boulevard. Construction would run from Highland Oaks Boulevard to Commercial Drive.
“Now we have to go back and re-examine the roadway project and discuss which direction we need to go in,” Carpenter said during a council meeting Tuesday.
The three options he presented were to spend the Category 7 award and have the city match the award to construct a left turn onto Highland Oaks Boulevard. The estimated cost of constructing the left turn is approximately $500,000, Carpenter said.
Mayor Mike Aycock was originally on board to save the funds in hopes that once the work was done on the Killeen side, their project would look more favorable.
“Is it better to do part of the project now than to bank the rest to just delay it based on hopes that we would get more money next year?” Aycock asked.
Carpenter’s second proposal was to seek additional funding directly from the Texas Department of Transportation and use the Category 7 funds plus the $1 million the city budgeted for the project.
Carpenter’s third option was to switch the funds to a project on Farm-to-Market 3481/Stillhouse Lake Road to address traffic concerns and ask TxDOT and developers to participate in the cost. This course of action would require approval from KTMPO.
“This area is only going to get worse when the Walmart store comes in. We already have a lot of pedestrian traffic in this area because of the high school,” Aycock said.
Councilmen Pat Christ echoed the mayor.
“There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, both of these projects need to get done,” Christ said. “FM 2410 will only continue to get worse.”
Council members agreed the critical need is at the FM 2410 bridge, where more than 28,000 cars cross going northbound in the morning and 15,000 traverse it on the south side in the evening, Public Works Director Mark Hyde said. Traffic counts on Stillhouse Lake Road are between 10,000 and 12,000 cars.
“The meeting went pretty well. TxDOT said they are willing to participate in the 2410 project but the question now is how much. ... They are looking at the scope of the project to see if they can reduce any of the costs,” Carpenter said of his meeting with TxDOT officials. “We also talked about the improvements to the intersection on 3481 and they would be willing to alleviate a one-third of the cost of the construction and engineering. We still need to come up with some of the money ourselves and garner support from other entities.”
Distribution of Category 7 Funding
Killeen: The city was awarded its full request of $2 million to widen Trimmer Road from Jasper Road to Elms Road.
Copperas Cove: The city received its requested $218,506 in federal dollars for the addition of a lane on Courtney Lane between FM 116 and Fairbanks to include a right-turn lane for westbound traffic on Courtney Lane.
Belton: The city received its full requested amount of $2.9 million for its extension of West Ninth Avenue and overpass project that will construct a bridge across Nolan Creek to connect State Highway 317 and Loop 121.
Hill Country Transit District: The district received its full amount of $642,640 for two replacement buses.
Temple: Withdrew its request for funding.