COPPERAS COVE — Contractors for State Highway 9 and the U.S. Highway 190 bypass progress toward their projected completion dates on time as they continue work on both ends of the new roadways.
“We are pleased with all the progress,” said Ken Roberts, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
The U.S. 190 bypass project is slightly ahead of schedule, said Charles Smith, a project manager for TxDOT.
Construction crews are on schedule to complete the more than 5-mile, two-lane highway by the end of 2013. Once completed, traffic can take a limited-access roadway through the southern portion of Copperas Cove from east of the Five Hills shopping center to west of Farm-to-Market 2657.
The bypass project has an estimated cost of $64 million.
Highway 9 is a little behind schedule on paper — 70 percent of the project is complete and 80 percent of the time has been spent — but a large majority of the work has been finished and San Diego-based Ledcor will be speeding up the project, Smith said. There was more than 1 million yards of dirt to move for the project.
“They are increasing their productivity, they had a lot of dirt to move,” Smith said.
Highway 9 should be finished by the end of the summer. It will be a more than 3-mile, two-lane roadway that will take drivers from east of the Five Hills shopping center to North Farm-to-Market 116 just south of Lutheran Church Road. Its estimated cost is $39 million.
Smith said residents will continue to see work on the east side of the city as both contractors set columns for the highways’ interchanges between the Five Hills shopping center and the Rail Head overpass, which is used for Fort Hood traffic.
State Highway 9
Columns for the Highway 9 project interchange completed by March. By May, westbound traffic coming into Cove will be switched back to the permanent lanes, Smith said.
That will allow for the approach to the highway to be built, steel gutters to be placed on that bridge and for the light at Robert Griffin III Boulevard to have its permit fixtures in place, he said.
The contractor also is working on the interchange at FM 116, Smith said. Crews are building new northbound lanes for FM 116, as the southbound lanes will remain where they are. Drivers should expect detours on North FM 116.
A bridge at Tank Destroyer Boulevard was completed and opened to traffic recently, and the contractor has finally dug underneath the previous roadway. However, there is still dirt to move under the bridge.
Work on U.S. 190
On the U.S. 190 bypass, “the biggest thing is the valley bridge,” Smith said. The contractor is working on the deck, or tops, for the 1,200-foot-long bridge. The project also needs one more cut into a 95-foot dig into a hillside.
Contractors recently finished moving a portion of the landfill blocking the site of the South FM 116 bridge. Construction on the bridge and its abutments should start soon, Smith said.
On the west side of the project, at the intersection of U.S. 190 and Farm-to-Market 2657, contractors are building an on ramp for the new highway.
While asphalt has been laid throughout portions of both projects, it is just the bottom layer of the highways’ surface, Smith said. The very last thing contractors will do is a final layer of either 1 or 2 inches of asphalt.