Northward view of IH 27/U.S. 87 from SL 289 by Lubbock Business Park in north Lubbock. 05/06/12
Traversing the high, rolling plains of the Texas Panhandle, IH 27 is an intrastate route connecting the cities of Lubbock and Amarillo. Bisecting Lubbock between State Loop 289, a limited access beltway, IH 27 extends the freeway along U.S. 87 north from Lubbock County to Downtown Lubbock, where it curves eastward alongside Mac Kenzie State Park. A three level interchange joins IH 27 with Loop 289 on the north side of the city as the freeway departs for Lubbuck International Airport (LBB) and the town of New Deal.
Leading away from Hub City, IH 27/U.S. 87 reach the city of Abernathy on the Hale County line. There the freeway briefly transitions to an urban design, dipping below the Main Street overpass east of the city center. Continuing, IH 27 shifts one mile west before bee lining northward to the city of Hale Center. Once at the city center, the freeway again navigates through an urban section, dropping below grade at Cleveland Avenue. IH 27 through both Abernathy and Hale Center are subject to closure due to flooding during heavy thunderstorms.
Beyond Hale Center, IH 27/U.S. 87 angle northeast across agricultural areas to Furguson, where a Business Loop separates eastward to the city of Plainview. The freeway mainline circumvents the west side of the city to Columbia Street, where Business Loop IH 27 returns. Northward from there, IH 27 traverses a rural route by Kress, Tulia and Happy, where U.S. 87 branches west to Canyon.
U.S. 87 combines with U.S. 60 at Canyon along an expressway leading north to IH 27. Construction of IH 27 directly overlaid the original four lane highway for U.S. 60/87 heading toward Amarillo. Within Amarillo, the freeway turns easterly ahead of the Potter County line before curving back north to conclude at IH 40, opposite U.S. 287 and the dual couplets of U.S. 60/87 through Downtown.
Interstate 27 is part of High Priority Corridor 38: Ports to Plains Corridor.
Interstate 27 follows U.S. 87 for its entire length, with separations between Exits 63 and 77 and again between Exits 88 and 110. U.S. 60 overlaps with IH 27 from Canyon north to Amarillo, while U.S. 84 parallels it through Lubbock.
Long standing proposals advocated extending Interstate 27 south from Lubbock to IH 20 in the vicinity of Midland-Odessa, and possibly further to San Angelo, IH 10 and a border crossing with Mexico. A feasibility study for the Port to Plains High Priority Corridor was conducted in 2000, though upgrades were mostly done to U.S. 87 in place of building new stretches of freeway. The Port to Plains Corridor was previously proposed as a divided highway running 963 miles north from Laredo, Texas to Denver, Colorado. It was designated as a high priority corridor in 1998 by the U.S. Congress.1
The Ports to Plains Alliance sought a new feasibility study for extending Interstate 27 south in 2015. Having gained the support of San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison, the potential study required endorsement from the county before the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would move forward with it.2 Referencing the lack of a connection to the Interstate system and potential economic growth and stability, subsequent actions by San Angelo city council on March 19, 2019 endorsed the IH 27 extension. Projected costs at the time to upgrade the 500 mile long Port to Plains Corridor south from Lubbock to Laredo topped $5.2 billion. This included potential cost savings by coupling the leg between Midland-Odessa and San Angelo with the IH 14 corridor.3
The extension of Interstate 27 was signed into law as part of the $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill. The Legislation outlines a route taking IH 27 south from Lubbock to Laredo, Texas and north to Raton, New Mexico. The infrastructure bill makes the future corridor eligible for federal funding.1 The Port to Plains Corridor in Texas overlays U.S. 87 south to San Angelo, with a loop west to Midland along SH 349 from Lamesa and along SH 158 to Sterling City. The Port to Plains Corridor continues south from San Angelo along U.S. 277 to Del Rio and Carrizo Springs, and U.S. 83 to Laredo.
North from Amarillo, Texas the Port to Plains Corridor follows both U.S. 87 northwest to New Mexico via Delhart and U.S. 287 to the Oklahoma Panhandle via Stratford. The corridor lines U.S. 87 northwest to I-25 at Raton and U.S. 287 northward to Boise City, Oklahoma and I-70 at Limon, Colorado.