(credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

EASTLAND COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — The Texas Transportation Commission has approved $3.2 million in funding to upgrade and modify a stretch of  I-20 in Eastland County. Along with the addition of safety lighting and the resurfacing of pavement and markings, the project will include construction of a new 54 ‘inch high concrete median barrier to help prevent vehicles from crossing into opposing traffic.

The commission also approved lowering the speed limit from 75 mph to 65 mph along the stretch of highway known as Ranger Hill.

“This stretch of highway has seen an increase in crashes and fatalities, so we’re hopeful these upgrades and improvements will save lives,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “As Texas roads become more heavily traveled due to a growing population, we must exercise due diligence in addressing their ability to safely accommodate more drivers and their passengers.”

Since 2008, there have been 127 total crashes in this area resulting in seven fatalities – all of which occurred this year, according to a release from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The four 2013 crashes included a three-vehicle collision in January, which resulted in the death of a pedestrian. During Memorial Day weekend, an eight-vehicle crash resulted in four fatalities after an 18-wheeler crashed through a concrete barrier and crossed into opposing traffic. The most recent fatalities occurred Oct. 14 and Oct. 15, in which a four-vehicle crash resulted in one death followed by a two-vehicle crash resulting in another.

“I appreciate the TxDOT staff and commissioners who listened to our concerns and agreed to make these critical safety improvements to Ranger Hill,” said state Rep. Jim Keffer. “I have no doubt that lives will be saved by this action.”

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