State HWY 9 Opens In Copperas Cove - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

State HWY 9 Opens In Copperas Cove

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(KCEN) -- The brand new State Highway 9 (SH9) is expected to relieve congestion and make Copperas Cove schools a little safer by diverting traffic away from the city.

It opened up around 3 p.m. Thursday, following a ribbon cutting ceremony on top of the windy highway.

The construction means Fort Hood commuters who live north of Copperas Cove no longer have to pass through 5-year old Kenzi Jackson's school zone.

That lets her dad loosen up on his grip on her hand a little bit as he walks her to and from school.

"It's a lot safer, not having to dodge traffic. I've noticed a lot of people speed through here too, so overall, it's just better for safety," said Damion Jackson.

And it's a big relief to commuting soldiers, like Sergeant Wayne Raffety as well.

He says, "That will be really convenient, because I have to go through all the school zones, and you have all the children walking across the road, so it will be a lot less traffic to have to worry about, and the kids."

SH9's three mile stretch connects U.S. 190 to FM 116.

Fort Hood Garrison Commander Colonel Matthew Elledge says, "It's going to mean better access to Fort Hood for the folks who live out in Lampasas and up in Gatesville, they can come through here, so a lot easier access, safer road, it's brand new."

The project took about three years to complete, costing the state $34 million.

"We're just happy to have it completed so that we can provide for the growth of this area," said Bobby Littlefield, District Engineer with TxDOT in Waco.

And knowing that all those extra cars won't be whizzing through Kenzi's school zone gives Damion a little extra peace of mind.

"Even just driving through here, the traffic is going to be a lot better," said Damion.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Photographer: Tiffany Pelt tpelt@kcentv.com

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