By Lauren Cabral
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Construction on State Highway 9, or the northeast relief route, is well under way and much progress has been made since the project broke ground on Feb. 21.
Larry Allen, grading superintendent for Ledcor CMI Inc., which is contracted to build the 3.5-mile loop, said approximately 400,000 yards of dirt has been moved so far and two bridges are almost complete.
"There's three more bridges to do, including an interchange over Highway 190, and 1,800,000 yards of dirt to move," Allen said. "There's still a lot to do."
Allen said the $31.9 million State Highway 9 project will include an interchange at where the Copperas Cove welcome sign is located on the east side of the city off westbound U.S. Highway 190.
It will have entrance points on Tank Destroyer Boulevard and Georgetown Road, and will come out on Farm-to-Market 116 about a quarter-mile north of where Anderson Mountain Road previously met the highway.
Allen said the project includes five bridges. The bridges over Georgetown Road and Turkey Run Creek are near completion, while work on those over Tank Destroyer Boulevard, the railroad tracks and the interchange have not begun.
He added it would likely be one year before construction on the interchange commenced, and Ledcor would work with James Construction Group, which is building the south bypass, to coordinate the construction.
"We're going to work with James Construction so we don't create any more traffic jams than we have to," Allen said.
He said overall, the project would require moving more than 2 million yards of dirt, 1 million of which would be used to build tank trails for Fort Hood.
Ledcor is also busy building underground drainage systems, Allen said, and is making sure its barriers minimize the construction's impact on the environment.
The project won't change any access points at Fort Hood.
Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services officials said Friday that entry control points will remain the same in the area. The checkpoints regulate entry onto the installation and won't be moving as the highway extension is built.
The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2013 and Allen said Ledcor is on track to meet that goal. He added he's liked working on the project.
"This is a cool job," he said. "I really enjoy this kind of work."
Contact Lauren Cabral at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.