When the U.S. Highway 190-Rosewood Overpass is complete in fall 2015, uninterrupted traffic flow and shortened travel distances for vehicles traveling to Seton Medical Center Harker Heights could help save lives.

“The project will greatly improve emergency response time, which has a huge public safety benefit,” said George Lueck, transportation director for the city of Killeen.

Motorists in eastbound lanes of U.S. 190 hoping to go west will no longer have to turn around at the Farm-to-Market 2410 overpass in Harker Heights, saving them more than two miles of travel.

U.S. 190 will maintain four lanes of traffic — its present capacity — throughout the $32 million U.S. 190-Rosewood Overpass project, local officials said this week.

Detours for the project begin this week with restriping of the highway to make way for demolition and construction of the U.S. 190 bridge over Rosewood Drive.

Killeen project manager Billy Smith estimated that traffic will begin traveling on the bridge over Rosewood Drive as soon as March.

“We will maintain four lanes throughout the project,” Smith said.

Traffic shoulders will disappear with a corresponding speed reduction for safety, he said.

Not only will the city gain a new overpass with the project, but also a new north-south access road to open up the dense neighborhoods along east Stagecoach Road.

Lueck, who describes the project as “essential,” said the city will take advantage of the one-mile stretch of Rosewood Drive, which is almost complete between U.S. 190 and Stagecoach Road.

“Successful cities leverage,” Lueck said. “You already have capacity existing, and the question is what is the best way to get at that.”

By creating a new thoroughfare along Rosewood Drive, Killeen will have a much-needed north-south travel route to rival State Highway 195, which is currently the city’s only major north-south route.

The project is funded through a pass-through financing agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, in which the city pays for the construction up front and is reimbursed by the state based on usage.

Coinciding with the project, the $55 million U.S. 190 widening project will add an additional lane in both directions to the highway between Fort Hood’s main gate and Harker Heights, including the lanes over Rosewood Drive.

Kenneth Roberts, TxDOT spokesman, said the Rosewood project will have great regional effect on mobility.

“With the additional lanes on U.S. 190, the Copperas Cove bypass and Rosewood overpass all contribute to the overall efficiency of the region,” Roberts said.

“It’s critical because the greater Fort Hood area has grown significantly and will continue to grow.”

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

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