By Danielle Church
Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS — The city council approved $1.7 million in pass-through financing in May for the construction of a U-turn bridge on the west side of Farm-to-Market 2410 for Central Texas Expressway.

With the anticipated completion of Seton Medical Center, the city will be facing an issue of increased traffic congestion over the next few years. Construction of the bridge is expected to help ease the flow of traffic.

Pass-through funding enables the state to stretch limited transportation funds, essentially allowing road construction projects such as this, to move faster.

Once a project is completed, the state will pay the city back.

Harker Heights Public Works Director Mark Hyde said the city has met with the Texas Department of Transportation to talk about the pass-through funding agreement and have accepted the conditions.

He said the next step in the process is engineering, which is projected to last from seven to eight months.

Ken Roberts, a TxDOT spokesman, further explained the process.

“There will be a construction meeting between TxDOT and local city entities to kind of talk about some of the things to be expected (upon beginning construction),” he said.

One of the key items to be discussed will be a projected date of starting and completing the project, he added.

City Manager Steve Carpenter said the contract for the project should be ready to go out for bid sometime after the first of the year.

Once it is set in motion, Hyde estimates construction to take about 18 months to complete.