Starting Friday, motorists will not be able to enter Fort Hood’s main post through Clarke Road Gate, as the first phase of a $5.2 million project to renovate and upgrade Clarke Road begins. 

Improving Clarke Road is long overdue, according to Michelle Lenis, the construction management branch chief in Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works Engineering Division.

“It hasn’t had a complete overhaul since it was built,” Lenis said, noting that the improvements to be made on Clarke Road are very similar to what is currently being done to Mohawk Road on West Fort Hood, a $2 million project slated to be completed “… before Christmas. It should be an early Christmas present. You can quote me on that.”

Fort Hood Director of Public Works Brian Dosa echoed Lenis’ sentiments on the need for a complete overhaul of Clarke Road.

“DPW maintains more than 450 miles of streets and roads across Fort Hood, so road work is a nearly constant process,” Dosa explained. “Clarke Road is important to maintain as it supports travel to and from the Logistics Readiness Center and West Fort Hood. This includes the transport of ammunition from the Ammunition Supply Point to our training areas.”

Work on North Clarke Road will extend from the gate to Tank Destroyer Boulevard. This phase of the renovation project is expected to last until the end of March. The truck inspection and access facility located on Clarke Road will remain open during this phase of the project, with commercial vehicles using Logistics Road as a detour.

While Clarke Road Gate is closed, the seldom-used Tank Destroyer Gate, accessible from Texas Highway 9, will open to facilitate access for motorists coming to the installation from northern Copperas Cove. Lenis said those looking to enter main post from Copperas Cove’s southside should use the Clear Creek Gate, noting that the Tank Destroyer gate will be open weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The reconstruction project starting Friday affects approximately a one-mile stretch of North Clarke Road, between the gate and Tank Destroyer Boulevard, Lenis said.

“The contractor will be required to remove the existing pavement surface and 16 inches of base material. New road base material will be placed and compacted,” she explained. “New asphalt will be placed with thermoplastic striping for all roadway markings.”

Lenis said the current roadway is 28 feet wide. Once renovated, the road will be 34 feet wide, “…this will include four-foot bike lanes on each side of the roadway.”

The renovation will also improve the intersection at North Clarke Road and Logistics Drive, Lenis added.

“We will do complete demolition and reconstruction with concrete,” Lenis said, noting that the concrete will help take the constant pounding of a high level of traffic, as well as the weight of commercial vehicles. She said the new roadway is expected to have a 20-year life-span before more reconstruction would be required.

During this first phase of the reconstruction project, access to West Fort Hood via Clarke Road will not be affected. The next phase of the project, expected to begin once phase one and the Mohawk Road project is complete, will affect South Clarke Road and many more motorists, Dosa said.

“I expect that the impact of phase two will be greater, as Clarke Road is the primary way people get to West Fort Hood. We have some good detour routes planned, however, that will lessen the impact to Soldiers and families,” Dosa said. “In addition, phase two (south of Interstate 14) will install street lights and add bike lanes to Clarke Road, greatly improving safety.”

The post’s DPW director concluded his remarks with a comment for the Fort Hood community.

“Thanks in advance for everyone’s patience,” Dosa added. “We have a saying in DPW: short term pain for long term gain.”