Council sets Oct. 2 as date for Business 190 median decision

Cove Leader-Press 

In front of a crowd that left a handful of vacant seats on Tuesday evening, the Copperas Cove city council decided in a 5-1 vote to decide at its Oct. 2 meeting whether or not to go forward with the Business 190 median project. 
As proposed, the 1.25-mile, $10 million project would install a raised, xeriscaped median with dedicated left turn lanes on East Business 190 from the Constitution Drive intersection to Avenue D, with a reduction from three lanes to two on both sides of the highway, and the addition of a 10-foot pedestrian/bicycle sidewalk. However, during the council’s July 17 meeting, Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah discussed changes to the design, which could include keeping three lanes in each direction intact, while narrowing proposed sidewalk to six feet on the southbound side, and instead of a mixed-use sidewalk, creating a four-foot bicycle lane on the southbound side as well. 
Haverlah said he would have the alternative ready to present to the council at its Aug. 21 meeting. The council would have to authorize Haverlah to propose the project changes to KTMPO, which would then present it to the group’s technical advisory committee, made up of regional partners, likely by September.
Councilman Marc Payne said he was against deciding without all the information available. 
“I’m not against setting a date for a final up or down vote, but I am against making a decision without having all the information,” Payne said, referring to the information gathered at a May 31 public meeting held by TxDOT and the results of an online survey collected by TxDOT. “I would like to make it after that, have all the information and not make a partial decision.”
Councilman Kirby Lack echoed similar thoughts. 
“I think to make a vote without all the information, based strictly on emotion and not intelligence. I think we need to hear the alternatives,” Lack said. “If we can keep three lanes and then do a sidewalk, women with baby carriages are having to get in the gutter on 190, because there’s not sidewalks on it. I’m all for a sidewalk, I’m’ all about safety. I’m not crazy about the median. There’s a couple of things about this I’m not happy with it. But if we can keep three lanes and make it safer for everybody, I think we ought to at least look at it.” 
Councilman James Pierce Jr. was the sole nay vote for the Oct. 2 decision date, and said he didn’t see the need to “kick the can down the road” on the project.  Opponents to the project along with those in favor of the roadway changes spoke up in the meeting during citizens’ forum, with those against the project being concerned with traffic flow and the impact to businesses, along with some speaking against the upkeep of the median. Proponents of the project spoke to increased safety and beautification of the roadway. 
Also on Tuesday evening, the council discussed a list of possible future transportation projects within the city. The list, after finalized by the council, will be submitted by the City of Copperas Cove to the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization for inclusion in the area’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2045. 
The list of projects, such as phase 2 of a Business 190 median from Avenue D to Georgetown Road, the widening of F.M. 1113 from the F.M. 116 intersection to Summers Road, as well as proposed changes to Big Divide, were all discussed. The council will prioritize and specify those projects for inclusion in the submission at the Aug. 21 meeting. 

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