COPPERAS COVE — Construction on the east end of U.S. Highway 190 is picking up as the State Highway 9 and the south bypass projects prepare to make road switches within the next month.
Traffic heading west into the city may be the first to switch to a new surface, said Charles Smith, Texas Department of Transportation project engineer for both the Highway 9 and the U.S. 190 bypass projects.
San Diego, Calif.-based Ledcor has already laid the asphalt for lanes to detour traffic while construction is occurring around the current highway, he said. That detour may occur within the next couple of weeks.
“We are hoping to get that switch done so we can go ahead and get started on that bridge,” he said.
The detour will allow for the construction of the flyover connection for Highway 9 to eastbound U.S. 190.
Switching eastbound traffic to new lanes could possibly take place a short time after that.
“What we are looking at is probably a little more than a month out, probably just the first part of October, and that is just an estimate,” Smith said about the new eastbound lanes.
Ledcor has laid down a seal coat for the new portions of U.S. 190, but it will still require asphalt and painting before traffic can be moved.
Unlike the westbound lanes, the eastbound roadway will be a permanent switch and will take travelers underneath the steel bridge girders just constructed by Baton Rouge, La.-based James Construction.
“Once we switch traffic, we won’t have to move them again,” said Smith, who noted work will still be occurring in the area but it will not interfere with the new roadway.
A lot of attention for both projects is on the eastern portions, said Smith, but other portions of the project are moving along.
For the U.S. 190 bypass project, which will take traffic from the Railhead overpass to just west of Farm-to-Market 2657, a long bridge in the construction area is nearing the point of having its deck poured. Other work continues along the more than five-mile stretch of new highway.
For the Highway 9 project, which will take traffic from the Railhead overpass to the north side of Farm-to-Market 116, construction has continued around Tank Destroyer Boulevard.
Ledcor will build a bridge for Tank Destroyer before carving out a portion of a hill for traffic to go underneath the Fort Hood roadway, Smith said.
Residents also may start to notice the Highway 9 project approach for the railroad bridge being constructed, said Smith. Ledcor has been hauling a lot of material for that portion of the project.
Highway 9 is about 52 percent complete, while the U.S. 190 project is about 55 percent complete, said Smith.