A groundbreaking ceremony Friday marked the start of construction for the $32 million U.S. Highway 190-Rosewood Drive expansion project, which will create an overpass from U.S. 190 south of Skylark Field to relieve traffic on Stan Schlueter Loop.

A new hike and bike trail through surrounding residential areas also is in the works, Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison said.

“Mobility in this community ranks very high, so there has been a very high need for it,” Morrison said. “This is a major thoroughfare of five lanes and will greatly enhance our north-south mobility in this side of town.”

In 2009, the project was selected for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Pass-Through Funding Program, which means the city pays the money up-front and TxDOT will repay the bulk of construction costs after completion based on the number of drivers on the road.

“We saw an opportunity to do some innovative financing and we were able to jump on the bandwagon with TxDOT and get the project going instead of waiting for years to have funding come in the traditional way,” said Ray Shanaa, the city’s executive director of planning and development.

The expansion will take at least two years to complete, which will cause some inconvenience for drivers, TxDOT District Engineer Bobby Littlefield said.

“But you can rest assured, this project will have great economic and developmental impact on the city,” he said.

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