City council approves plan for State Highway 9 exit, Constitution Drive reconstruction gets no bids, median project completion in November
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Those on the northside of Copperas Cove who have been wishing for a way to access stores on the east side of the city without having to drive through town are closer to seeing that wish come true.
At Tuesday night’s Copperas Cove city council meeting, the council approved an amendment to the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for the current fiscal year, and the plan includes adding an interchange from eastbound State Highway 9 that will connect to Business 190.
The city has found savings of $1.6 million from the 2017 Certificates of Obligation bonds, and these funds will pay for most of the cost to construct the interchange/exit. An additional $500,000 for the project would come from the Copperas Cove EDC, for a total of $2.1 million earmarked for the project from city and EDC funds.
The agenda didn’t name a specific intersection on Business 190 that this future interchange will connect to, but it will likely join at the intersection of Constitution Drive and Business 190.
Prior to the unanimous vote by the council, City Manager Ryan Haverlah explained the next steps for the project, which includes coordinating with TxDOT and Fort Hood.
“We will have to consult and hire an engineer directly as TxDOT said that they will not be able to design this project until two years from now,” Haverlah said. “So, in order to help move this project forward, we will work with them to identify an engineer that they would be supportive of for designing this project.” Haverlah said then the city would coordinate with Fort Hood and the roadway would become part of the State Highway 9 easement that already exists.
“Fort Hood has expressed a willingness to convey that easement or expand that easement for transportation projects in the past. They’ve also expressed the same for this project.”
Haverlah said that it is a much simpler process to convey the easement than do a land swap.
Another key roadway in the forefront of local drivers’ minds is Constitution Drive, where it goes from the Business 190 intersection to the four-way stop at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
The city had put the reconstruction of that roadway out for bids, and Haverlah told the council the city received no bids for the project, and so they reached out to the companies that obtained packets with project specifications, asking why they didn’t bid.
“So far, the general comment is they don’t have the staff to do the project,” Haverlah said. “The timing of when it was bid out was also a concern because it’s right before some holidays. November and December are months where there are significant holidays where people take off people don’t look for work, necessarily during that time period.”
Havlerah said that they will be working with the engineer to receive all the comments from those contracting companies and try to rebid that project in the future.
Another project has been delayed due to machinery issues, that of the Business 190 median project, projected to be completed in November.
Haverlah told the council that the mill and overlay was supposed to a week ago on Monday, but the contractor’s machinery is not functioning, but they are trying to get it working so they can begin the mill of the entire roadway within the project scope.
“Once that mill is done then they’ll do an immediate overlay of those areas, so it will be a brand-new surface road,” Haverlah said. “And then once that overlay is done, they’ll be striping and there will probably be a number of items on a punch list before the project is fully complete.”
Haverlah also told the council that the F.M. 116 overpass that crosses State Highway 9 is ahead of schedule and work is progressing more quickly than was first anticipated