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I-14/U.S. 190 bypass widening funds included in state transportation plan

Project anticipated to be let for bid in 2023


Cove Leader-Press


The widening of the I-14/U.S. 190 bypass from two lanes to four around Copperas Cove is closer to becoming a fully funded reality, after Governor Greg Abbott announced the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) 2023 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) will be putting $85 billion into the state’s roadways over the next 10 years.

In an Aug. 30 press release, Abbott’s office said that the 2023 UTP authorizes highway projects for development and construction. Additionally, the UTP identifies public transportation, maritime, aviation, and rail investments.

Projects are selected by TxDOT and local transportation leaders based on effectiveness in addressing criteria such as safety, pavement condition, capacity, and rural connectivity, with opportunities for public input at both the state and local levels.

Locally, $36 million in funds are being allocated to the widening. The total projected cost to widen the bypass to four lanes is a little more than $60 million, or $60,479,999, according to TxDOT’s UTP list of projects.

The $36,950,000 funding is being joined to a previous allocation of $23,529,999 which was earmarked back in Dec. 2018, by the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization, or KTEMPO, made up of local officials from cities in Bell, Coryell, and Lampasas Counties, and the Texas Department of Transportation’s Waco and Brownwood districts, and two ex-officio members, one from the Federal Highway Administration and one from Fort Hood.

The widening project was listed as one of the top five priority projects by KTMPO, as part of the area’s 2021-2028 transportation plan.

The delay on the project until now has been due to the matter of funding.

Another step that must occur prior to the bypass widening begin was taken at Tuesday night’s Copperas Cove city council meeting.

The city council approved an agreement with Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. for $80,270, for design and construction services to relocate utility lines in conflict with the plans for the I-14/U.S. 190 expansion.

Copperas Cove’s Public Works Director Scott Osburn told the council that TxDOT contacted him about a month ago to see about resolving those utility conflicts.

There is a 16-inch waterline at the intersection of 190 and F.M. 2657, and a sanitary sewer line that crosses under the bypass about 3,000 feet east of the intersection. Both the water and sewer lines conflict with the design plans that include an overpass and frontage roads at 190 and F.M. 2657.

TxDOT has said that if the city can relocate these utilities, the project can be let for bid as soon as August 2023, sooner than the slated let date of 2025.

According to the agenda, the current projected cost to the city to relocate the lines is $973,470, which includes design, geotechnical and surveying costs of $95,970 and construction costs of $877,500 costs. This also includes a 25 percent contingency.

“Obviously, from city staff’s perspective, and I believe council shares that perspective, moving this project forward for that ultimate section is a high priority project,” Osburn told the council. “With that mind, I immediately reached out to LAN and got them moving on associated survey and contract which will save us about a month.”

Osburn said the probable cost estimate has “exploded.” Originally, these were two separate projects that had been programmed into the city’s capital improvement plan and were around $400,000 as of last year.

“Obviously, my hope is to get this project in as cheaply as we can, but accomplish our goals in that time constraint but also provide for the future demand.”

The city plans to fund this project from “contingency savings from prior project debt issuances” along with the use of water and sewer fund reserves. This will be brought back to the council via a budget amendment.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207