HARKER HEIGHTS — Texas leaders provided local community members updates about projects going on in Harker Heights during a Texas Department of Transportation luncheon Thursday at the Central Texas Homebuilders Association in Harker Heights.
Solomon Thomas, project engineer for Bell County of TxDOT, briefed the 90-member audience about past, ongoing and future roadway improvement projects.
One major upcoming project is the estimated $42.5 million roadway expansion of Interstate Highway 14/U.S. Highway 190.
“The project will expand the interstate from two lanes on each side to three lanes on each side for a total of six lanes,” Thomas said. “It will also improve ramp alignments.”
The expansion is expected to begin in summer 2019.
In addition to talking about projects within the community, Solomon stressed the importance of keeping Texas roadways safe by not driving while distracted.
One major distraction that causes motor vehicle accidents and fatalities is texting while driving.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website the total number of reportable motor vehicle traffic crashes on Texas roads was 537,475 in 2017. Of those, 100,687 or 19 percent involved distracted driving — driver distraction, inattention or cellphone use. Those 100,687 crashes in Texas resulted in 444 deaths and 2,889 serious injuries.
As of Sept. 1, 2017, a new statewide law makes it illegal for all drivers to read, write or send a text and drive in Texas. Law enforcement officers are looking for drivers with their heads down distracted by their phones, leading TxDOT to launch its new “Heads up, Texas” campaign.