FORT HOOD, Texas - Progress is being made on the multiple construction projects currently going on here at the Great Place.
Michelle Lenis, the branch chief of the Management and Outside Oversight Team within the Engineering Division of the Directorate of Public Works, joined the hosts of Fort Hood’s Great Big Podcast to give an update on the current projects and talk about some new ones.
One of the biggest projects has been the construction at the Santa Fe Gate, which forced it to close in February around the time of the freeze.
“We are definitely making headway out there at Santa Fe Gate. We’ve got the road torn up. We’re going to start reconstruction coming up soon. We’ve got some culverts to replace out there, so we get better water flow through the area and improve our infrastructure,” she said. “We awarded a $1.8 million project … and we are looking for a late summer completion date. Somewhere around the August timeframe is what we’re projecting.”
She added, “It takes us from a one-lane to a two-lane exit. Anyone that’s tried to leave post out of Santa Fe knows the traffic just backs up way too far. Getting out of post will be a whole lot easier for everyone that uses that gate or wants to use that gate in the future.”
Amongst the several road projects, Clear Creek Road has had one-and-a-half miles reconstructed.
“We had heavy flooding over Clear Creek north of Turkey Run, heading out to West Range Road. All that’s been corrected. We don’t expect any more flooding on that road, so that we don’t put anyone in danger,” Lenis said. “And we’re going to get traffic signals on Clear Creek, on Hell on Wheels, and Old Ironsides. The lights will get activated around the first of June.”
The tank crossing trails were also improved, allowing for more space for the tanks and the asphalt will not be damaged by tanks.
Lenis also went on to thank the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, whose access control point has been affected by the construction on East Range Road, for their patience as DPW put in the time to fix the 1.1 mile stretch of road.
“We spent about $2.6 million. They reconstructed the whole road to get rid of all those base failures, and it includes a traffic light at East Range Road and Tedesco Way to help the 69th ADA to get out of their footprint and decide whether or not they’re going north or south on East Range Road,” She said. “It’s going to be excellent for 69th ADA. We know it’s painful at this time, but we’re going to be done with this come July.”
A new MCA (Military Construction, Army) bridge will also be installed on Turkey Run.
“(MCA) It’s just a different funding pot. It takes longer to get that money. You have to program it years in advance,” she explained.
After the tragic loss of a Soldier who was swept away while attempting to cross the low water crossing bridge during high rain events, they made it a goal to raise the bridge. The $13.4 million project is planned to be completed in late summer of 2022.
“Then hopefully during inclement weather, we don’t have to shut down the road. It should have no reason to shut down and the bridge won’t flood,” she said. “Right now, if you try to go down Turkey Run, it is closed between Muskogee Street and Munitions Road, you can’t go down Turkey Run.”
Also, the last segment of Clarke Road is being worked on. This $1.4 million project is expected to be finished in the fall of this year.
“This one’s a little less painful. Definitely less painful for our partners over on West Fort Hood … We’re going to close Clarke Road between Tank Destroyer and Turkey Run,” Lenis said. “This is going to affect anyone that wants to go to the landfill or the cement plant. It will affect the Comanche area a bit, if they happen to use Clarke Road. They’ll end up going into their main entrance right off of Tank Destroyer or they’ll have to use Muskogee Street.”
Lenis also said a section of Wainwright Drive will be closed for a full reconstruct and is expected to be finished in early August. She also said that there is an upcoming closure on Tank Destroyer.
“We have an upcoming closure, it’s just a warning. We’re going to shut down a section of Tank Destroyer between Clarke Road and New Railhead Road. We’ve got a lot of what we call stock gaps and repairs that need to be done on that road, not a full reconstruction. It’s about 1.2 miles. We’ve got patches along the way,” she explained. “I don’t anticipate that to be closed for too long, but during that time, the reroute is going to be through Logistics (Blvd.). We will not shut down Tank Destroyer until we complete all the work on Logistics.”
She credited the work put into keeping the roads maintained for not many potholes forming after the freeze in February and shared DPW Director Brian Dosa’s mantra: ‘Short-term pain for long-term gain.'
“That’s our mantra. Everything that we do is short-term pain, long-term gain with this and that’s what we always look forward to,” Lenis said. “There’s nothing better than when you go driving down the road (and) it’s smooth. At the end of the day, we’re going to have a great post and we’re going to keep this thing moving forward.”
To listen to the podcast, go to www.buzzsprout.com/761486/8548573.