The Texas Department of Transportation will break ground Feb. 26 on the U.S. Highway 190 project in Killeen that will widen a four-mile stretch of the highway between Fort Hood’s main gate and W.S. Young Drive.
The construction is one of about six projects either under way or planned along the highway.
Kevin Dickey, director of transportation planning and development for TxDOT, announced the groundbreaking during a presentation to the Killeen City Council this week.
The $47 million U.S. 190 Copperas Cove Bypass project, which began in July 2011, is nearing completion, Dickey said.
“We expect that project to relieve some of the congestion on 190 through Copperas Cove,” Dickey said.
As the projects move west to east, Killeen’s portion will increase the road by one lane in each direction and install upgrades to frontage roads, drainage and bridges between Fort Hood’s main gate and W.S. Young.
The $55.4 million project is estimated to be completed in fall 2015.
“As a result of the growth in the major Fort Hood area, there’s an increased demand on our transportation infrastructure,” TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said. “The project will increase the flow as well as improve safety of the traffic.”
Roberts said stretches of U.S. 190 near Fort Hood see as much traffic as Interstate 35.
The U.S. 190 project will coincide with the city of Killeen’s $17 million Rosewood Overpass Project, which will create a new overpass at Rosewood Drive south of Skylark Field.
Killeen funded this project with Pass Through Financing, a program where the city pays for the work and much of the cost is refunded by TxDOT.
“Certainly, there will be some local participation but the major portion will be refunded by TxDOT,” Roberts said.
TxDOT also plans to widen a stretch of Farm-to-Market 2410 from East Stan Schlueter Loop to Roy Reynolds Drive, a project with a total cost of $2.3 million.
Both the Rosewood overpass and FM 2410 projects are expected to begin in March and be completed by spring 2015.
On a grand scale, the Fort Hood-area highway improvement projects are part of a concept to link the nation’s military installations with effective transportation infrastructure.
At a recent meeting, Roberts said state transportation planners saw a need for enhanced roadways connecting El Paso’s Fort Bliss to Fort Hood and so on to other major military installations farther east.
“For the purpose of the movement of troops, these things are considered on the macro,” Roberts said.
Mobilization is good not only for the growth of the state but also for its ability to respond to natural disasters or other emergencies, Roberts said.
“If you don’t have sufficient capacity available to do that, then you really don’t have a plan,” Roberts said.
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552