COPPERAS COVE — The city continues to grow northward along Farm-to-Market 116. Several developments are under way, and with the completion of State Highway 9, more growth could be enticed to the area.
W & B Development Engineer Garrett Nordyke said the construction of the two-lane highway, which will take traffic from U.S. Highway 190 to the north side of the city, was a consideration when the company purchasing a 225-acre property in early 2011, but there were other selling points, too.
“The property had many other desirable features,” Nordyke said. “The property is situated along a creek and is adjacent to City Park, J.L. Williams/Lovett Ledger Elementary School and S.C. Lee Junior High School.”
The subdivision off Courtney Lane will have about 700 lots, with a possible 40 acres set aside to expand City Park. Early cost estimates for those homes are around $100,000.
“The bypass will only make the development more attractive, especially to commuters with a strong aversion to traffic congestion,” Nordyke said.
Texas Department of Transportation Waco District spokesman Ken Roberts agreed with Nordyke that the new highway, which will dump traffic onto FM 116 in the area of Courtney Lane, will be a benefit to many in the area, giving them easier access to their homes, Fort Hood and U.S. 190.
Once complete, the state highway should increase traffic to Fort Hood, as it will have an exit for Tank Destroyer Boulevard. It also will merge with U.S. 190 near the future Shops at Five Hills shopping center.
“When you impact the safe and efficient flow of traffic in the area, it is indicative to growth,” Roberts said. “People will use roadway more when they know they can travel safely without congestion through an area.”
While most projects such as State Highway 9 have seen significant commercial developments sprout up around them, such as the Five Hills shopping center being constructed near the future U.S. 190 and Business 190 interchange, Roberts said he suspects the junction at FM 116 and the new roadway could see something similar, depending on the city’s plans for the area.
“It is difficult to say out there because it is dumping out to a rural area where you are seeing some subdivision growth,” Roberts said. “I would suspect that there will be some retail development out there ... but you will probably see retail that will service those subdivisions.”
Mike Ebers, chief operations officer for the local Subway franchise, said the state highway construction and the area’s prior growth are among the reasons the chain is opening its third location in the city at a new strip mall development not far from the future roadway.
“It made it more attractive,” Ebers said about the loop. “I don’t know that’s the sole selling point. There is a lot of traffic out there and there is a lot growth out there and the loop enhances it.
“I think with the loop, that will bring more growth to the area and more people to the area. It seems like a good place to be, and the store may be a year or two ahead of its time, but ... we don’t want to look back and say, ‘Man we should be out there.’”
State Highway 9 is 60 percent complete in allotted time and 50 percent on cost. The project is moving along well but “not ahead of schedule or behind,” Roberts said.
The project should be completed in the spring.