HARKER HEIGHTS — After about 18 months of the speed limit being set at 65 miles per hour, the stretch of eastbound U.S. Highway 190 beginning at the Harker Heights-Killeen has a 75 mph speed limit again.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Ken Roberts confirmed the news Wednesday, and said that the speed limit was dropped to 65 mph while construction on the freeway was ongoing. Now that the construction, which stretched from the exit for W.S. Young Drive to Farm-to-Market 2410, is completed, the speed limit returned to normal, Roberts said.
“Added capacity is going to be the rationale for the increase,” Roberts said. “If the city would like to get the speed limit lowered, that is something that can be done, but it’s something the local government would have to do.” The area where the speed limit increases is directly in front of Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, one of the most heavily traveled sections of the city.
At that point, the U.S. 190 speed limit jumps from 65 to 75 mph in an area where the highway narrows from three lanes in each direction to two. Harker Heights City Manager David Mitchell said he had not been made aware of the speed limit’s change before he was contacted by the Herald on Wednesday afternoon. Though he hasn’t heard of any concerns surrounding the change, he said that he’d be willing to take steps if some were raised. Mitchell said in the past, the city has voiced concerns with speed limits to TxDOT, and a speed study has been orchestrated to figure out whether a change is warranted. “It’s not a sure thing; sometimes they’ll tell us no,” he said. “But if the speed study agrees with it, they’ll change it.”