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Safety effort: Rest areas being built on I-20 near Ranger to aid 'weary drivers'

Published On: Feb 07 2013 11:12:45 AM CST

EASTLAND COUNTY, Texas -

Two new rest areas are being built as part of an effort to make a dangerous stretch of Interstate 20 east of Ranger safer, state transportation officials said Thursday.

It is part of an effort to “entice weary drivers off the road for a break,” the Texas Department of Transportation said in a news release.

Here’s the Texas Department of Transportation news release:   

The Texas Department of Transportation is working to make the drive along I-20 though Eastland County safer by building two new safety rest areas just east of Ranger.

Construction crews recently broke ground on the facilities on both the eastbound and westbound sides of the interstate. The new rest areas are part of TxDOT’s ongoing effort to fight driver fatigue by building state-of-the art facilities that will encourage weary drivers to take a break. Features include air-conditioned and heated restrooms; ample parking areas, with separated areas for cars and commercial trucks; travel information kiosks; office space for law-enforcement staff; enhanced security, including surveillance cameras; tornado shelters; picnic arbors; walking trails; and a children’s play area.

“Safety is TxDOT’s top priority, and these new safety rest areas will help drivers make sure they are alert and well-rested during long road trips,” said TxDOT Brownwood District Engineer Elias Rmeili, P.E.

Statistics show that from 2007 through 2011, the number of fatigue-related crashes statewide dropped 13 percent. TxDOT has been building updated rest areas across the state for about the last 12 years.

Each new rest area features native landscaping and elements unique to the area’s history or geography. When completed, the facilities will include exhibits that will be developed with input and direction from Eastland County historians.

Work on the Eastland County rest areas will also include modifying entrance and exit ramps, realigning the frontage roads and widening a bridge. Crews are now clearing the sites and constructing pads for the buildings.

Both rest areas are scheduled for completion by early spring of 2015. Jay Mills Contracting, Inc. of Stephenville is completing the work for $16.4 million.