By Bill Begley
Killeen Daily Herald
For area drivers, it means a collective sigh of relief.
For Ken Roberts, it means on to the next project.
"I am sure, for area commuters who have to drive through that area, there is a sigh of relief," said Roberts, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, about the completion of two ramp reversal projects this week along the eastbound side of U.S. Highway 190 in Killeen. "For us, it's not so much a sigh of relief as, 'Next.'"
The $2.8 million project wrapped up earlier this week, with the ramp reversals completed along the U.S. 190 frontage road. An exit for eastbound traffic between Trimmier Road and W.S. Young Drive opened Monday night and an entrance ramp between W.S. Young Drive and Stan Schlueter Loop opened Tuesday night.
Reversing the ramps – switching the on ramps and exit ramps – allows more time from when a vehicle gets off the highway until it arrives at an intersection.
As well, similar adjustments – like the mirror work done for ramp reversals on the westbound side of 190 – can help with economic development. That happened noticeably after the westbound project, Roberts said, although the eastbound side is pretty well into its development.
"Since that time, you have seen a lot of things – car dealerships, restaurants and stores – over on that westbound side," Roberts said. "We don't anticipate that on the eastbound side, because the development there is pretty much set. But, the businesses there will certainly welcome the improved traffic flow and access, especially with the holiday seasons coming."
The rest of the project – a ramp reversal from Farm-to-Market 2410 to Indian Trail, including the addition of a turnaround – is the final step in the overall project. And, Roberts said, the opening of Market Heights will likely mean more infrastructure adjustments.
But all of it, Roberts said, is part of a plan to widen roads and ease congestion along U.S. 190, from Copperas Cove to Interstate 35.
"You are looking at considerable growth in this area," Roberts said. "With that is the increased demand on the infrastructure. What this project will help is increase the safety in the area, as well as mean better flow of traffic for drivers in that area."
Roberts said traffic volume in this area – from Stan Schlueter Loop to the main gate at Fort Hood – reaches about 100,000 cars daily.
A considerable amount, he said, when you consider the fact that the TxDOT Waco district along I-35, beginning just south of Salado and reaching up to Hillsboro, between Waco and Dallas, sees an average of about 80,000 cars per day.
"That is a tremendous amount of traffic in a very small area," Roberts said. "Looking to the east, at least from our standpoint and the widening of the roads out to I-35, this is just one step in the overall project. I am sure, in the interim, there will be other projects along 190 along the way."
Contact Bill Begley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7541.