Several road construction projects going on around the city tie together to aid the flow of traffic through Killeen in an effort to keep pace with the city’s growing population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, Killeen’s population was an estimated 134,654 in 2012 — a 5.3 percent jump from 2010 and it’s expected to continue climbing.
Several construction projects completed over the past year or so will be part of a bigger picture in about two years when all of the projects are finished.
George Lueck, director of transportation services, said the road projects are “a creative way to use existing streets.”
“Cities become congested, one of the strategies to relieve congestion is to create some outer mobility around the city,” he said.
The next phase of construction slated is the widening of Stagecoach Road to five lanes, with a continuous center turn lane, from State Highway 195 to East Trimmier Road.
Recently completed was the widening of Stagecoach to three lanes from East Trimmier Road to the Harker Heights city limits.
The entire Stagecoach Road reconstruction is expected to last into 2016.
The thoroughfare is currently two lanes with a few subdivisions and homes trickled sporadically down the thoroughfare from State Highway 195 to East Trimmier Road. It’s surrounded mostly by open fields.
From East Trimmier Road to Harker Heights, it’s mostly developed with homes side-by-side lining the street.
Once the project is complete, it will tie into Rosewood Drive, which is currently under construction to be extended to East Central Texas Expressway where it will cross under the overpass being constructed on U.S. Highway 190.
Farm-to-Market 2410 also is being widened. At the Harker Heights and Killeen city limit line, Stagecoach Road turns into Mountain Lion Road, which meets FM 2410.
Piece of puzzle
The Stagecoach reconstruction is essentially the piece of the puzzle tying all of the ongoing projects together to create an “outer half-loop” around the southern portion of the city, Lueck said.
Another essential piece of the puzzle, he said, was the recent completion of a project to remove the traffic signal and install an overpass at the intersection of State Highways 201 and 195. Highway 201 also was widened from two to four lanes.
The widening of Cunningham Road from Stan Schlueter Loop to Stagecoach Road was completed within the past year.
“Traffic is easy to fix, it just costs money,” Lueck said. “You have to have the right-of-way and the room to do it, but that’s why it doesn’t get fixed and congestion happens. Cities don’t have the money to build unlimited roads, but to get traffic to flow efficiently, you need to add capacity to existing structures, figure out how to loop it and then grid it.”
Lueck said the completion of the projects in about two years should make navigating Killeen “much more efficient” and “open up access to create more economic development.”
Fred Garvin, owner of Garvin’s Machine Shop on Stagecoach Road, said he doesn’t think the construction will benefit his business.
“Hopefully it won’t destroy my business while they mess with this for two years,” he said. “All the new construction that has gone in has done nothing but make a mess out here. It’s just a continual dust bowl and a mess.”
Garvin said the widening of Stagecoach will also eliminate the treeline on his property.
“I’ll have no obstruction from the road,” he said. “I’ll have no noise barrier anymore. I don’t see how this is going to do a thing for me other than cause more problems.”
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