COPPERAS COVE — Road construction on Farm-to-Market 2657 is progressing on schedule as the street-widening project moves into its fourth month.
“There really haven’t been any delays, and there have been no change orders (project additions) at this point,” said Darah Waldrip, a Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman. “(The contractor) is still working on what they are calling phase 1 of the project.”
During this first phase, Hewitt-based Big Creek Construction has completed the majority of the grading and extraction of dirt on various sides of the project, said Bart Fris, a TxDOT interim area engineer. The contractor will now work on laying road base for the substruct of the street and begin preliminary paving.
The nearly $7.5 million project is reconstructing the former 28-foot-wide, two-lane surface by expanding it to a 75-foot-wide, five-lane street for 2.6 miles from U.S. Highway 190 to County Road 4744. Once finished in summer 2014, the road will include two five-foot, shared-use lanes, four lanes for traffic, a center lane, curbs and gutters.
“There is a lot of work left,” Fris said, noting that grading and excavation is only the first portion of the construction.
To ease traffic, the contractor is working on the east side for the northern half of the project and the west side of the road for the southern portion, Fris said.
“They are breaking it into sections to make it more manageable for traffic by getting one area completed at a time,” Waldrip said.
It should be June when the contractor switches the traffic from the current road surface to a new portion of the street, Fris said. That will allow the contractor to construct the opposite sides of the roadway than what they are working on now.
Compared to the other highway construction Copperas Cove is experiencing, the FM 2657
project is straightforward, Fris said.
There are no large bridges and only one section that will be supported by box culverts for drainage.
The number of driveways and entrances on the roadway created some problems for residents and challenges for the contractor, Waldrip said.
Big Creek has worked hard to provide access to everyone’s property, Fris said. There may be times when people have been cut off, but access to those residences and businesses have been reopened as quickly as possible.
Fris and Waldrip urged anyone who has problems with construction to contact TxDOT, so they could work with the contractor to provide a solution.
Fris also said people should be careful when traveling in the work zone.
“This project is to improve the safety of that highway, and that has been our biggest concern. We continue to ask for the public’s cooperation while we complete the roadway project.”