By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen City Council members on Tuesday discussed an advanced-funding agreement for the widening of U.S. Highway 190 from west of the Fort Hood Main Gate to W.S. Young Drive.

The council is expected to take action on whether to supply $3 million in advance to widen lanes for more than four miles as Phase 1 of the Texas Department of Transportation expansion project.

"The project will let in July," said Kevin Dickey, a planner for the state agency, stating the entity will ask for contractors' bids for the project soon.

Killeen's funding will only be a portion of the money going to the more than $50 million project; Bell County is expected to contribute $2 million as well.

Dickey told the council the project will consist of reversing several entrance and exit ramps along the highway as well as adding an additional lane for both westbound and east bound traffic. The Willow Springs Road bridge also will be widened during the process.

Mayor Dan Corbin asked whether the project would reduce the "bottleneck" of traffic coming off post entering the highway and heading toward Killeen.

Expanding the lanes, which will occur both on the access roads and highway lanes, will allow greater capacity, said Dickey, and the goal of that increased space is to reduce traffic.

Interim City Manager Glenn Morrison said the $3 million should cover all of Killeen's costs during the first phase of the project, to include any moving of utilities.

Dickey also mentioned that the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning organization, which aids in planning area state roadway projects, has pushed the second phase of the project to the top of its priority list. That project will add two lanes - one each direction - to the highway from the U.S. 190 overpass at W.S. Young to Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights. Construction for the second phase will consist of about three miles of roadway.

While the project has yet to go to the state agency's commission, Dickey was confident the project will shortly follow the first phase's construction start date. He anticipated that the second phase would be bid out to contractors in spring of 2013.

Also Tuesday, the city council was briefed on:

Fort Hood's impact and role in the community by Col. Mark Freitag, the post's garrison commander.

Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1's involvement with the city.

Several upcoming public hearings on zoning and subdivision plat changes.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.

If you go

Killeen will hold a public hearing about the city's 2012-13 fiscal year budget at 6 p.m. today.

The meeting is for residents to share their opinions about the city's budget for the coming fiscal year. City expenditures for the 2011-12 fiscal year budget are about $258 million.

The meeting will be in Utility Collections-Large Conference Room, 210 W. Avenue C, across from Killeen City Hall.

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