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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

TxDOT gets community involved with expansion

TxDOT gets community involved with expansion

Shannon Myres

Evening Star

 

 

Tuesday, at the Harker Heights Activity Center, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provided an open house for the citizens of the surrounding areas to gain more knowledge and the opportunity to comment on the proposed US 190 expansion, the W40-06 in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan of the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“It’s just an opportunity for us to bring the communities in and let them see what we’re planning to do, to increase the capacity and improve the transportation infrastructure in our area,” said Ken Roberts, public information officer Waco District.

The public meetings allow for TxDOT to gain input from the citizens and examine if there are elements the schematics have passed over.

“I have a vested interest in what’s going to happen, as a business owner. Is it going to be like a Salado situation where a lot of those businesses had to close because of the construction,” said Cynthia Graham, owner of Horse and Pony.

TxDOT engineers and consultant staff were present at all display tables of the schematics to help answer any engineering, ecological, and design.

“I think overall, the interaction that TxDOT is having, bringing their representatives here to tonight and answering questions and to show the projected plans and then for us to leave comments or concerns and listen to what the community has to say, I think that’s fantastic,” said Gina Pence, Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce president.

Nolanville’s city council and Contract Engineer was present to ensure their input over the new ramps and their locations were heard.

“(TxDOT) has provided a great opportunity to provide early input into the design and hopefully, we can identity some of the issues early enough to help make a difference in the long term,” said Nolanville City Manager, Kara Escajeda. “There are a lot of good things that are going to come from the widening and some of the proposed changes,” said Escajeda.

The 190 expansion impacts Harker Heights, Nolanville, and Belton city limits. The project would widen the highway from four to six lanes with modifications made to the existing on and exiting ramps, and new ramp locations.

“This project really mirrors the growth of Texas. The projection is a doubling of the population over the next 10 -15 years. We need to be able to increase the capacity of the roads to make them safer and move the traffic more efficiently around in the area,” said Roberts.

One of the first phases of the proposed plan is funded by Proposition 7 and will cost approximately $9 million. The project plan begins one mile west of FM 2410 (Knights Way) to FM 3423 (Indian Trail).

“The project of Knights Way to Indian Trail and the subsequent projects, we’re looking at a period of about three years and our final push from FM 2410 in Belton to Interstate 35,” said Roberts.

TxDOT is accepting comments from the public until Feb 8, 2017. The project schematics and comment page is available online at www.txdot.gov

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