Officials Approve Plans for Nation's Largest Mall

$76M I-20 at Ranger Hill Work Under Way

Tue May 22, 2018 - West Edition #11
Chuck Harvey – CEG Correspondent


Interstate 20 is one of the primary east-west corridors in Texas, running 636 miles from the Texas-Louisiana border near Marshall to I-10 in far West Texas.
(TxDOT photo)
Interstate 20 is one of the primary east-west corridors in Texas, running 636 miles from the Texas-Louisiana border near Marshall to I-10 in far West Texas. (TxDOT photo)
Interstate 20 is one of the primary east-west corridors in Texas, running 636 miles from the Texas-Louisiana border near Marshall to I-10 in far West Texas.
(TxDOT photo) A $76 million I-20 at Ranger Hill reconstruction project will provide safer and swifter driving conditions on the 3-mi. stretch of highway in north-central Texas.
(TxDOT photo) Reconstruction began in summer of 2017. The project is expected to conclude in summer of 2020.
(TxDOT photo) Crews will build two overpasses to allow access to the westbound safety rest area at the top of the hill.
(TxDOT photo) Reconstruction is designed to improve safety and provide efficient movement of motorists on the hill.
(TxDOT photo) When finished, the highway will have three westbound main lanes, plus a two-way frontage road, and two eastbound main lanes, plus a two-way frontage road in the Ranger Hill area.
(TxDOT photo)
Currently the highway has two main lanes in each direction with no frontage roads.
(TxDOT photo) The project will upgrade the interstate to meet current TxDOT and federal design and safety standards.
(TxDOT photo)

A $76 million I-20 at Ranger Hill reconstruction project will provide safer and swifter driving conditions on the 3-mi. stretch of highway in north-central Texas, about halfway between Abilene and Fort Worth.

Interstate 20 is one of the primary east-west corridors in Texas, running 636 miles from the Texas-Louisiana border near Marshall to I-10 in far West Texas.

When finished, the highway will have three westbound main lanes, plus a two-way frontage road, and two eastbound main lanes, plus a two-way frontage road in the Ranger Hill area. Currently the highway has two main lanes in each direction with no frontage roads.

Crews will build two overpasses to allow access to the westbound safety rest area at the top of the hill.

The project will upgrade the interstate to meet current TxDOT and federal design and safety standards. Currently, I-20 features a steep 6 percent grade and a sharp “S” curve on the hill, with 8 percent banking and no frontage roads.

Reconstruction is designed to improve safety and provide efficient movement of motorists on the hill. Plans call for a more gradual 3.5 percent grade and a gentle curve that will allow for safer and more efficient vehicle movement at a design speed of 75 mph.

New highway shoulders also will be built. Most will average 10 ft. wide. The inside shoulders of the westbound lanes will vary from 10-ft. wide to 18.6-ft. wide. The frontage roads will be paved with concrete, as will the main lanes and shoulders.

Reconstruction began in summer of 2017. The project is expected to conclude in summer of 2020.

Prime Contractor

In March 2017, The Texas Department of Transportation awarded a $76 million contract to Zachry Construction Corp. of San Antonio, Texas, for the reconstruction and realignment of I-20 at Ranger Hill.

The contract was then approved by the Texas Transportation Commission. Initial construction started in summer of 2017.

Major subcontractors on the project include Mario Sinacola Companies of Frisco, Texas; Ryan Construction Inc. of Zephyr, Texas; Dustrol Inc. of Towanda, Kan.; and Venus Construction of Mansfield, Texas.

Current work on the project includes excavation, rock blasting, embankment improvements and concrete traffic barrier placement. Cast in place culvert construction has been completed.

“The existing Ranger Hill is being excavated, blasted and crushed,” said Andrew Carlson, public information officer of TxDOT. “And this crushed rock is the majority of the embankment for the job. Embankment from borrow pits will also be brought in to complete the total embankment for the job.”

Equipment at the construction site includes a 12-ft. blade, D8 bulldozer; D10 bulldozer; 16-cu. yd. haul trucks; front-end loader; track hoe; sheep's foot roller; flat wheel roller; surface miners; and a drill rig.

About 40,000 tons of asphalt will be used over the course of the project. Crews will pour about 95,000 cu. yds. of concrete.

New Uphill Passing Lane

Crews will build a new 12-ft.-wide westbound climbing or passing lane.

The stretch of highway will have three westbound uphill main lanes to allow large trucks to use the outside lane for climbing without impeding smaller vehicles traveling at higher speeds. Two 12-ft. wide eastbound downhill main lanes will be provided along with space for future expansion to three lanes.

Wide inside and outside shoulders will allow refuge for stranded or stalled vehicles. Continuous two-way frontage roads will improve access and incident response capabilities throughout the length of the project.

Crews will build a concrete barrier separating each sides of the freeway. A second concrete barrier will separate each side of the freeway from the adjacent frontage road.

Workers also will realign and reconstruct the interstate to straighten out and soften the curve and reduce the steep grade of the hill.

Crews will build new 12-ft.-wide continuous two-way frontage roads with shoulders in each direction. They will reconstruct the safety rest area entrance and exit ramps to align with the new frontage road configuration.

Impacts to Project Area

“At this time there are slight delays of 15-30 minutes when blasting operations are under way,” Carlson said. “Otherwise traffic is flowing normally. Minor traffic impacts will occur when traffic is shifted to the newly-built main lines beginning later in 2018.”

Carlson added that the project has received overwhelmingly positive response from area residents, first responders and local and state officials.

He said the project is on schedule.

Project Considered Vital to Safety

Design improvements were considered necessary in the Ranger Hill area to enhance and improve safety and mobility. The improvements specifically address the following issues:

Roadway safety and operational concerns caused by functional roadway deficiencies that contribute to high frequency and severity of traffic incidents.

Vehicle congestion resulting from accidents and increasing traffic demand. Incident management concerns and access limitations for first responders.

Economic Boost

“Area communities such as Ranger, Eastland and Cisco are always attempting to bring in new businesses such as restaurants, truck stops and hotels, and many feel this project will help to improve economic growth,” Carlson said. “Commute times will be positively impacted due to better mobility as a result of this project.”

Traffic Volume, Incidents

More than 21,000 vehicles travel through the Ranger Hill area daily.

Trucks account for almost half (9,000) of the traffic volume.

Average daily traffic is predicted to grow from 22,400 vehicles in 2018 to 34,700 vehicles in 2048, representing a 55 percent increase.

Trucks are projected to account for nearly 43 percent of the projected increase.

About 130 traffic incidents occurred from 2008-2015.

“Although the population and development in this rural area is not really on the rise, traffic along I-20 in this area is expected to increase significantly in the coming decades as the interstate continues to be a vital transportation and freight corridor in Texas,” Carlson said.

CEG

Project Timeline
  • Summer 2017: Reconstruction began.
  • Spring 2018: Continue to excavate, rebuild and add new lanes on south (eastbound) side of Ranger Hill.
  • Spring 2018: Temporarily shift eastbound traffic to new lanes.
  • Spring–Fall 2018: Reconstruct area between existing westbound lanes and new lanes on south side of Ranger Hill
  • Fall 2018: Temporarily shift westbound traffic to newly reconstructed lanes.
  • Fall 2018–Spring 2020: Add new westbound lanes and frontage roads and reconstruct safety rest area access ramps on north (westbound) side of Ranger Hill.
  • Summer 2020: Open all frontage roads, main lanes and access ramps and permanently shift traffic to ultimate designated lanes.

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