By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The city of Belton took its first steps toward compliance with the Texas Department of Transportation's plan to widen Interstate 35 from Farm-to-Market 2484 in Salado to U.S. Highway 190 in Belton.

City Manager Sam Listi said at a city council meeting Tuesday that he met with TxDOT about three months ago to discuss the city's options when complying with the state-mandated construction.

There are a number of conflicts, including city utilities in the way of the state's new design for I-35.

The projected cost of the project is $563,500, and the city has opted to hire its own engineers rather than have the state include utility relocation design and construction in Belton as part of its overall plan. TxDOT will reimburse Belton for all of its expenses involved with the I-35 widening project, Listi said.

At the meeting, the council approved an agreement with both TxDOT and KPA Engineers, the city's consultant engineers.

"After a lot of review and analysis about the situation, the advantage is for us. We feel like KPA knows our system. They've been through this in other cities, so they know kind of how the project works," Listi said.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in April.

"(There is a) pretty aggressive schedule by TxDOT to get this done," Listi said.

Trae Sutton of KPA Engineers said that a reason the project has such a quick timetable is because it's part of the stimulus plan.

"This is the stimulus package at work. … TxDOT is expecting 90 percent of the plans to be done by December," Sutton said.

The council also:

Approved a general development plan for 164.1 acres at Shanklin Road, east of I-35, at the Shanklin Road Interchange.

Approved a contract with Dixon Paving Inc. to create a Central Avenue Gateway from I-35 to Penelope Street.

Proclaimed it "Municipal Courts Week."

Proclaimed November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Awarded Police Officer Keith Volk with the Officer of the Quarter Award for an investigation that led to the arrest of a suspect that has been sought by federal authorities for years.

Contact Jade Ortego at or (254) 501-7553.

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