Tired of daily detours and driving between concrete barricades? Get used to it.
Construction on the U.S. Highway 190 widening project — which began in February — is still in phase one, officials said Friday.
The $55 million state-funded project will add one lane in each direction to U.S. 190 between Fort Hood’s main gate and W.S Young Drive.
Additional lanes are planned for most frontage roads, along with enhanced drainage, culverts and expanded ramps, said Ken Roberts, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
TxDOT estimates completion by fall 2015.
“This is a critical time in the growth of the greater Fort Hood area and a pivotal opportunity for us to get in there and have a good impact on that growth,” Roberts said.
From the main gate to Stan Schlueter Loop, U.S. 190 receives more traffic on a daily basis than Interstate 35, Roberts said.
According to TxDOT, the average daily traffic count on I-35 in the Waco District is 80,000 to 100,000 cars per day.
Each day around 110,000 vehicles travel through the six-mile stretch between Fort Hood’s main gate and the U.S. 190 intersection with Stan Schlueter Loop.
“We have to look at every means of increasing that traffic flow,” Roberts said.
Although motorists will not see much of the construction, such as drainage work, major structures are popping up, such as the new Willow Springs overpass.
On July 27, TxDOT closed the main lanes of U.S. 190 to place the new overpass adjacent to the existing Willow Springs bridge.
With the girder beams in place, crews are expected to lay the new bridge deck Aug. 12 and from then it will be eight to 10 more weeks before traffic will drive over the bridge, Roberts said.
Main lane closures of U.S. 190 are only expected during the demolition of the old Willow Springs bridge.
TxDOT has been working closely with the Killeen Police Department to ensure drivers obey the reduced speeds on U.S. 190 work zones.
During one traffic crackdown in July, KPD wrote 98 traffic citations in just two hours.
“It’s not a speed trap; its a safety trap,” Roberts said. “We don’t want people to treat the work zone like the open road. A traffic ticket has a cost but the ultimate cost is losing a life.”
Roberts said, although the detours and concrete barriers seem dangerous, the ultimate goal of the U.S. 190 widening project is to create a safer roadway.
“This project is still very much in its initial phases and a tremendous amount of work is still left to be done,” Roberts said.
“We ask the patience of everybody that travels through the area as we work to make the safest transportation system as possible for our traveling public.”
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552