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U.S. 190 bypass reopens Tuesday evening after being shutdown for more than 36 hours

Westbound bridge shoulder closed, replacement of railing could take several weeks

Cove Leader-Press 

The U.S.190 bypass reopened shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening after an early Monday morning collision on the bypass bridge occurred around 6:32 a.m. 
According to a press release from the Copperas Cove Police Department issued Monday, a westbound Hyundai crossed into the oncoming traffic lane and struck an 18-wheel Freightliner head on. The operator of the Hyundai was transported by Air Evac to Scott & White hospital in Temple, Texas with apparent severe injuries. The driver of the Freightliner was transported to Advent Health by Copperas Cove EMS with non-life-threatening injuries, and was released later that morning. As of press time Thursday, no update on the condition of the driver of the Hyundai had been released. 
David Smith, owner of Smith Construction, said the truck’s driver, Glenn Ford, has been with Smith Construction for over a year and has a great driving history, Smith said. Most of the drivers of the bigger trucks do. 
“They’re drug tested and knee deep in rubber,” Smith said. “Their equipment is the best that money can buy.”
The 2006 Freightliner truck Ford was driving was hauling 1-inch washed concrete rock from Marble Falls and headed east on I-14, towards Belton, when the driver of the Hyundai, heading westbound, swerved into his lane, for reasons currently unknown. 
“(Ford) was trying to get away from the car, and there wasn’t a place to go because he was on that bridge,” Smith said of Ford. “It’s just too tight of an area, two lanes, and he didn’t have a place to go.”
Smith explained that he had just put brand new steering tire on the truck on Saturday. When the other driver hit the truck, she blew the front tire out and caused Ford to lose control of his truck. 
Smith said he hoped the other driver recovered and would be okay. He also said that he was told the other driver was insured but even so, the minimum requirement of insurance would not go far to cover the loss of the truck, nor lost wages. 
“You’ve got a driver that could have been killed. You’ve got a lady that’s hurt,” Smith said. “But that lost revenue of that truck is $5,000 to $6,000 a week.”
Monday morning’s wreck is the second wreck on the U.S.s 190/I-14 bypass involving a Smith Construction truck where the truck was not at fault, Smith said. The previous accident was in 2016. 
Smith said the biggest problem he sees is that the smaller cars that share the road with these big trucks are not required to carry enough insurance. Smith added that he estimated more than 50 percent of the drivers that have hit his trucks do not carry insurance at all. 
“I have a million dollars’ worth of coverage on these trucks,” Smith said. “Most people are required to have $50,000 or $25,000, and that isn’t enough insurance to pay for one of these $150,000 trucks.”
Smith was shown comments on social media where people have laid the blame for the accident on the truck driver. 
“The big trucks always get the big, bad rap but the money and the insurance and the taxes I pay, I’ve got every right to be on that road just like everybody else,” Smith said. 
The Texas Department of Transportation now has a temporary barrier in place, but it could take weeks or even months for a permanent barrier to be fabricated and installed, according to Ken Roberts, publication information officer for TxDOT’s Waco District. 
That shoulder of I-14 will remain closed but the travel lanes of the reliever route will remain open, Roberts said.
Expanding the two lanes of bypass to four lanes has been a top priority of the city’s funding requests to the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization since the bypass first opened in 2015. In December 2018, KTMPO’s transportation planning policy board scored the U.S. 190 bypass expansion as one of the top five projects in the area. KTMPO allocates state and federal funding for highway projects throughout the area, which includes Copperas Cove.  
At that time, the U.S. 190 widening had an estimated $48.1 million price tag and will be paid for with federal and state transportation funds, 80 and 20 percent, respectively. It was said at that time to have an estimated bid letting date of 2021.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

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