The U.S. 190 corridor in Central Texas, including the portion extending from Belton to Fort Hood, could be renamed Interstate 14 within a year thanks to a federal transportation bill that was signed into law on Dec. 4.
"Belton's location at the crossroads of Central Texas just took on a whole new significance in economic development, Belton City Manager Sam Listi said.
The upgraded Central Texas Corridor will begin in West Texas and follow U.S. 190 through Killeen, Belton, Bryan-College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville and Jasper before terminating on State Highway 63 at the Sabine River.
The I-14 corridor designation amendment was sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Texas Senator John Cornyn. It was authored and presented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Texas Congressman Brian Babin of Woodville with support from Congressman Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, both members of the House Transportation Committee.
The stretch of U.S. 190 from Interstate 35 in Belton to Copperas Cove is already at interstate highway standard. It will be renamed as I-14 and added to the national interstate highway system once a technical review is completed and the new designation is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Texas Transportation Commission. That process could be completed within the next year.
The new Interstate will provide a safer, more efficient route across Central Texas while providing much needed connections between I-35 at Belton, I-45 at Huntsville and future I-69 at Livingston, said John Thompson, chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.
In 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation completed a feasibility study of the US 190 corridor, which set the stage for the designation of the future I-14 by Congress. The study recognized the benefits of a high volume east-west highway to serve a vast section of Texas between Interstate 20 and Interstate 10.
Additional studies will be needed to determine specific local routing alternatives. US 190 improvements will take place incrementally over time as funding becomes available and traffic demand grows with the state's population and freight traffic, Thompson said.