The Texas Department of Transportation held a summit Thursday afternoon to apprise local dignitaries of progress being made on various thoroughfares under construction and future projects.
Bobby Littlefield, TxDOT district engineer, said the U.S. Highway 190 project to widen the corridor from four lanes to six lanes from the Fort Hood main gate to W.S. Young Drive is “going very well.”
“We have some good contractors who are on schedule and are about halfway finished,” he told the room of more than 50 attendees. “I know it’s a headache, it’s an inconvenience when you have to fight so much traffic but believe me, it will be well worth the wait when it’s finished.”
The extension of Rosewood Drive to meet Farm-to-Market 2410 also is on track to meet its scheduled completion date for summer 2015.
Littlefield said another project that will increase mobility through Killeen is the widening of Trimmier Road. The $8.3 million project is spearheaded by the city.
He said the project will go out to bid sometime in August with an anticipated start date in the fall. The project is expected to take about a year to complete.
Another endeavor in sight for local cities is getting U.S. Highway 190 designated as a continuation of Interstate 35. The designation would be along the highway from Copperas Cove to Interstate 35 in Belton.
Littlefield said the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization is moving forward with passing a resolution in support of having the highway designated as Interstate 14.
“The good news is almost nothing has to be upgraded; it’s there,” Littlefield said. “From an engineering standpoint, we’re there. Now, we have to go through the bureaucratic process.”
CONNECTING ‘FORTS TO PORTS’
Gary Bushell, government consultant for the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, said U.S. Highway 190 also provides Killeen with an opportunity to be a part of the Interstate 14 system.
The proposed highway system would be an upgrade to existing infrastructure in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi to allow for better connectivity between Fort Bliss, Fort Hood and Fort Polk, La., and the Port of Corpus Christi and Port of Beaumont.
According to the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition website, the improvements will make deployment and mobility more efficient. About 40 percent of military equipment and supplies deployed in the ongoing war effort have been deployed from Corpus Christi and Beaumont.
“The opportunity we have is because of U.S. 190 being virtually at interstate standards,” Bushell said.
“Basically, we’ve got the opportunity at both ends of this to link Georgia to the state of Texas and to Fort Hood. Any time you can increase flexibility it’s a good thing. So, it’s a concept that I think we need to pursue.”
The proposal still has to be approved by lawmakers.