A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held at I-20 and Hwy 16 at the bottom of Ranger Hill on September 6th for the I-20 reconstruction project. Elias Rmeili, TxDOT Brownwood District Engineer, welcomed visitors and explained how the project would redesign Ranger Hill to make it a safer place to travel. Guest speakers at the event were State Senator Charles Perry, State Representative Mike Lang, Eastland County Judge Rex Fields, President and COO of Zachry Construction, Jean Abiassi, and TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Marc Williams.
A video of the presentation appears below. TxDOT sent out the following information about the project:
The Texas Department of Transportation and contractor Zachry Construction Corporation have marked the commencement of primary construction of an approximately $76 million project to reconstruct and realign a three mile portion of Interstate 20 at Ranger Hill in northeastern Eastland County.
San Antonio-based Zachry was awarded the construction contract in the amount of $76,238,256.10 in March of this year.
Throughout the approximately three year construction period, periodic lane closures and traffic shifts can be expected. The speed limit in the project area is 65 mph, though speed limits may be lowered as needed. Drivers are reminded that traffic fines are doubled in work zones when workers are present. TxDOT will provide notice of scheduled lane closures and traffic disruptions through social media and local news media. Motorists are encouraged to follow TxDOT Brownwood District’s Twitter feed, @TxDOTBWD, for the latest updates.
This safety-related project will upgrade the interstate to meet current TxDOT and federal design and safety standards within the Ranger Hill area. Currently, I-20 features a steep 6% grade and a sharp “s” curve on the hill, with no frontage roads. While TxDOT has implemented various safety upgrades in recent years, such as reducing the speed limit, construction of a concrete median barrier, pavement improvements and installation of high-mast lighting for increased nighttime visibility, the roadway still does not meet current TxDOT standards.
The project will shift the centerline of the roadway approximately 500 feet to the south of the current alignment. The grade (steepness) of the roadway will be significantly reduced from 6% to approximately 3.5%, along with more gradual curves. The project adds a third lane in the westbound (uphill) direction allowing large trucks and other slower vehicles to ascend the hill without encumbering faster traffic in the inside lanes. The eastbound (downhill) lanes will initially feature two travel lanes, but will be expandable to three lanes as traffic levels are projected to increase in future years. Continuous frontage roads will be added on both sides of the interstate throughout the project area which could be utilized as detour routes should there be an incident closing the main travel lanes.
More information on the project, including schematics, maps and environmental assessment documents can be found on the TxDOT website.