By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

An ongoing traffic study in the Texas Department of Transportation's Waco District will provide for future roadway infrastructure in the Fort Hood area.

Last week, the Texas Transportation Institute of College Station placed traffic counters throughout the area, said Ken Roberts, the Waco District's spokesman.

There are in the "neighborhood of about 5,000 locations" for the counters throughout the Waco District, Roberts said.

The study will use the counters to see where traffic is going. Then, TxDOT and the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization (KTMPO) will use the study to determine what traffic-related issues need to be addressed for the Fort Hood area, Roberts said.

"It helps us get a better feel for how to move traffic, the entire network and the inner connectivity," Roberts said.

Results of this study will affect both the short-term and long-term planning for KTMPO, director Annette Shepherd said.

KTMPO is composed of several local government leaders and staff members who determine road priorities for TxDOT.

The data collected is the basis for the models KTMPO and TxDOT will use to determine their plans.

"It is the assumptions that are made in traffic and capacity," Shepherd said.

The impact will be larger for the long-range plans, as the newer numbers likely will be used for projects that are five or 10 years out, Roberts said.

The public might have barely noticed driving over the counters, but it could see benefits from the study in the future, such as adding a highway lane or a roadway to elevate traffic elsewhere, Roberts said.

The studies are done every two to three years. While TxDOT will have access to the numbers, it might be a year before a traffic count map is completed.

Roberts and Shepherd believe traffic in the area has probably increased since the last survey.

"Those numbers at a minimum are going to hold up, and they are probably going to increase," Roberts said.

Contact Mason W. Canales or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.

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