by Erin Jones | CBS 11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A stretch of darkness setting drivers up for disaster?

It’s how some who work off I-35E describe a portion of the highway where several lights are out.

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“These lights have been out for a long time you know,” Miguel Jimenez said.

Jimenez is talking about the stretch of darkness on I-35E from Storey Lane to Commonwealth Drive.

“The lights being out, that is very dangerous,” Roland Tennyson said.

Tennyson said he witnessed why Monday around 2:30 a.m as he was closing up the fast food restaurant he works at just off the highway, near Empire Central.

“I was in the store and heard a big boom and it shook the whole building,” he said. “I came to the glass and I saw a truck out here that ran into the tree.”

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office said a tow truck hit another car on I-35 in the southbound lanes. The tow truck driver died after he lost control, smashed through a guard rail, crossed on to the service road and hit the tree.

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“It’s a very sad situation,” Tennyson said.

Video of the accident scene shows the lights were off. TxDOT reports right now, in this area, the lights must be off because this stretch of the highway is an active construction zone.

Highway lights out on stretch of I-35E in Dallas (CBS 11)

“If you take the lights out of the highway there needs to be something else added,” Johnathan Gill said.

Gill is a tow truck driver who has spent more than 15 years on North Texas highways. He wants to see alternate, portable lights and warning signs posted.

“Warning signs that the highway up ahead is going to be darker,” Gill said. “It’s definitely dangerous for us as tow truck operators, but a car breaks down and they’re out in the dark on the side of the highway.. super dangerous.”

TxDOT says the lights should be back on in three weeks as the construction project comes to a close.

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Until then, TxDOT representatives urge drivers to follow the posted speed limit and said if they see any issues with the reflective striping on the road report it.