Construction signs line this stretch of Mashburn Road in Copperas Cove on Wednesday marking the official beginning of the U.S. Highway 190 Southeast Bypass project that will divert traffic around Copperas Cove to ease congestion.

By Lauren Cabral
The Cove Herald

Construction on the U.S. Highway 190 bypass relief route began Monday, marking the beginning of a yearlong project expected to make traffic flow more freely on U.S. 190.

Ken Roberts, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said work this week consisted of posting signs at future intersections on the bypass on U.S. 190, Farm-to-Market 116 and FM 2657. He said that aside from the construction signs, most people won’t see any other signs of construction for a while.

“They’re not going to see how it’s developing, because it’s not going to be in an area where there’s already a roadway,” Roberts said.

He added significant hills are around Copperas Cove, and deep cuts will have to be made through them to make way for the road. Cuts also will have to be made through an old landfill.

“That kind of work is going to be taking place over the next few months. There’s some substantial excavation that will need to be done as the project proceeds through that area,” he said.

While TxDOT warned drivers to be patient, observe posted warning signs and watch for construction personnel and equipment in the working area. Roberts said traffic in Copperas Cove shouldn’t be affected by construction.

“For the most part, the construction won’t impact the flow of traffic in and around Copperas Cove until it’s completed,” Roberts said.

The six-mile route will be initially constructed as a two-lane roadway, part of an ultimate four-lane divided roadway that will loop southwest from U.S. 190, just west of Clark Road, back to U.S. 190 at the Lampasas County line on the west side of Copperas Cove.

The bypass will take the name U.S. 190 and the current U.S. 190 through Copperas Cove will be dubbed Business 190.

The project is being undertaken by James Construction Group, LLC of Baton Rouge, La., at a cost of $43 million.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the project is Sept. 13, said Betty Price, Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce vice president. That date was chosen after pre-construction meetings took place based on estimated timelines and the availability of various entities’ representatives to attend.

The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2013.