Residents of South Killeen will be glad to hear that their daily detour around Stagecoach Road will likely be lifted before the end of the year.
But the orange signs won’t be gone for long, as the city continues to move forward with plans for almost $100 million in transportation improvements over the next 10 years.
City transportation director George Lueck said the city hopes to open the reconstructed stretch of Stagecoach Road — between the Harker Heights city limits and East Trimmier Road — sometime in December.
Opening the road will mark the end of a 15-month project that added a new center lane, underground storm drains and spacious new sidewalks to the one-mile stretch of road. Lueck said the city only requires sidewalks to be four 4 wide but, after the reconstruction, most of the 5½ miles of Stagecoach Road, planned to be reconstructed by 2016, will be 6 feet wide.
Killeen residents Roland Akers and his wife, Kang, said the widened sidewalks will allow them to ride their bikes and exercise more comfortably in their neighborhood.
“We will be extremely happy when the road opens up,” Akers said. “People can walk and run with their strollers and they won’t have to bunch together.”
Akers, who has lived in Killeen for 30 years, said he currently takes the winding neighborhood detour to reach Killeen’s commercial districts.
“When they finish, it will make things easier. Now we are forced to go down to Stan Schlueter (Loop) like everybody else,” Akers said.
Bidding will soon begin on the construction contract for Phase 2 of the Stagecoach Road reconstruction project, which will stretch from East Trimmier Road to Tyrel Drive, Lueck said.
Lueck said he hopes crews will begin turning dirt on the project by March.
The planned three-mile stretch of Stagecoach Road will ultimately be five lanes wide — four driving lanes, one center turn lane — with a widened sidewalk. It is currently a two-lane road with no sidewalk.
“We are going from a section with bar ditches to a really nice urban section out there,” Lueck said. “We try to get as much capacity as we can.”
As the city grows south, Stagecoach Road is planned to become a major east-west thoroughfare, Lueck said.
The extra lane was added on the western stretch, Phase 2 of the project, in anticipation of the higher levels of traffic generated by W.S. Young Drive, West Trimmier Road and eventually State Highway 195.
At the corner of West Trimmier Road and Stagecoach Road — the middle of the planned project — is an area that has already become busy with students and teachers commuting to the Killeen Independent School District Career Center, Charles Patterson Middle School and the Pathways Academic Campus.
“You look at what’s going on out there, with the future developments in place, the existing road will not serve the level of use it is getting,” Lueck said.