I-14 expansion plays into local economies

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Dollar signs. That is what local economies see as the potential result of an expansion of Interstate 14.

The five-state interstate plan was included in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. It will not only connect major military installations, but could also allow for more business opportunities.

Portions of I-14 are complete from Copperas Cove to Belton and have provided more mobility to larger businesses that need it. It is a plus for corporations of all kinds that rely on more open roadways transport products.

“To say now that we’re at the crossroads of Interstate 35 and Interstate 14 has been a real positive for Belton,” said Cynthia Hernandez, executive director of the Belton Economic Development Corporation.

“And for our region as well.”

Recruiting businesses has become a little easier since the expansion of the interstate in 2017.

As construction continues near Belton, areas around the interstate are also seeing improvements to allow for more growth.

“Having a second interstate is really important but ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support that growth is a key part of that as well,” Hernandez said.

Access to a major roadway has been a draw-in for chemical and steel manufacturers in Killeen recently.

“A lot of times we look at requests for proposals...Many of them want access to an interstate,” said John Crutchfield, president of the Killeen Chamber of Commerce.

It also comes with the benefit of decreased congestion.

“What you see is smoother traffic flow, fewer interruptions as a result,” said Crutchfield. “Unless it’s under construction.”

Individual states will analyze proposed routes thoroughly before anything can be done. And most of the billions of dollars in this project could go to places where traffic congestion is the biggest problem.

Because the expansion of I-14 will go from Texas to Georgia, work will not be done quickly. But that could have some positives.

“Construction usually comes with more employees that are shopping and eating in the area, so that’s a benefit for us as well,” said Hernandez.

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