By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen Transportation Committee on Tuesday heard a presentation about the first steps to update the city’s street improvement master plan, which could include a bond issue.
The master plan will set the priorities for road repair and maintenance in the coming years, City Engineer George Lueck told the committee.
He said there are currently several roads in the design phase for a face lift. Among those are Avenue D, Gray Street, Trimmier Road and Watercrest Road.
“Watercrest is extremely high on everybody’s list,” Lueck said.
Widening W.S. Young Drive is also on the list, Lueck said, but added there are not enough funds to pay for the project.
City Manager Connie Green told the committee besides identifying which roads need the most repair and upgrades, the city will have to find a way to pay for it all.
“I think the magnitude would probably require another bond issue,” Green said, noting the 2002 bond issue could cover some of the needed project. “It is just a drop in the bucket compared to what you are about to see.”
Lueck said the committee will have to identify projects of high priority. One suggestion was extending Lowes Boulevard and Bacon Ranch Road.
“This is what I would characterize as mobility enhancement,” Lueck said. “It’s no secret to any of us we have a substantial amount of congestion.”
Green suggested when the committee prioritize street projects, it does so in phases.
“Those bites — if you are looking at a $100 million program — are probably $25 million each,” Green said.
He added it will be awhile before the full Killeen City Council will consider approving a new streets master plan.
“It’s probably a process that will take six to nine months,” Green said.
He also suggested forming a citizens’ committee to help prioritize the projects.
Committee member Miguel Diaz suggested the Transportation Committee work on the master plan during special meetings, rather than forming a subcommittee or a citizens’ committee.
“That’s the fastest way to get it done,” Green said.
Mayor Timothy Hancock, committee member, disagreed saying the city should consider community members with expertise, like developers, to give input.
“Whatever the case may be, we’ll keep the Transportation Committee informed,” City Planner Andrew Allemand said.
The Transportation Committee decided to work on it within the committee.
Mayor Pro Tem Fred Latham, committee chairman, suggested asking Bell County for funding help.
“We ought to say, ‘Here are some ideas you ought to look at,’” Latham said.
He estimated Killeen accounts for 38 to 40 percent of the county’s 250,000 population.
“The worst they can say is no,” Latham said.
In other business:
The committee sent a recommendation to the Killeen City Council to change a street name. The council will consider whether to change Clubhouse Drive to Lake Willows Drive. The road leads into a subdivision.
“There’s been a lot of confusion for residents looking for the golf course,” Allemand said.
Assistant City Manager Don Christian said city staff is working with Fort Hood to create a railroad quiet zone. The quiet zone requires upgrades to crossings, including arms covering the entire crossing and directional horns, would mean the trains would not blow their horns through town.
“It’s a fairly complex process,” Christian said, noting a lot of paperwork is involved.
Fort Hood officials asked to work with the city on it because it is building housing in earshot of railroad tracks near the city.
“This is a great opportunity for Killeen to make a good impression of being neighborly,” Latham said.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7550