First US 190 Section Now I-14
January 27, 2017
AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Texas Transportation Commission voted Thursday to give final approval to designation of 25 miles of US 190 freeway in Bell County as Interstate 14.
The freeway segment is now part of the Interstate Highway System and Interstate 14 signs will go up in the coming months on the section stretching west from Interstate 35 in Belton to the eastern edge of Copperas Cove.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s Waco District spent the past year working with the Federal Highway Administration to review elements of the existing highway to confirm they meet required interstate highway design standards. Highway upgrades of this segment have been underway for the past few years and more expansion projects are planned.
Leading up to the final decision, the I-14 designation was previously approved by the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Federal Highway Administration.
John Thompson, former county judge of Polk County and board chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, had high praise for the Transportation Commission’s swift action in making the first section of Interstate 14 a reality. He noted it took only a year to reach that milestone following the congressional designation of the Central Texas Corridor as future I-14 as part of the FAST Act in December 2015.
I-14/US 190 serves as the primary access to Fort Hood at Killeen, home of 36,000 military personnel and 50,000 family members. Fort Hood is the largest single site employer in Texas.
John Crutchfield, president of the Killeen Chamber of Commerce, said I-14 is more than a highway project, it is a way for the state to support one of the most important military facilities in the nation.
Major General Ken Cox USA (ret), president of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, noted that the 25-mile highway segment was recently used by the Army to deploy Army units to Europe.
The Central Texas Corridor begins in West Texas and runs through Killeen, Bryan/College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville and Jasper before crossing into Louisiana at the Sabine River near Fort Polk. Thompson said upgrading this corridor to interstate standard will mean improved safety and traffic mobility while creating new economic development opportunities for the communities in the regions served by the interstate highway.