Interstate 27

I-27 Texas
History
North End
South End
IH 27/US 87 at SL 289 - north Lubbock, TX
Northward view of IH 27/U.S. 87 from SL 289 by Lubbock Business Park in north Lubbock. Photo taken 05/06/12.

Overview

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 U.S. 87 freeway north from Lubbock County to Downtown, where it curves eastward along side 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 travels 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.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 27 is part of High Priority Corridor 38: Ports to Plains Corridor.

Parallel U.S. Routes

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.

Future Plans

Long standing concepts allude that Interstate 27 may someday extend 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 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 would move forward with it.1 Referencing the lack of a connection to the Interstate system and potential economic growth and stability, subsequent actions by San Angelo city county 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 includes potential cost savings by coupling the leg between Midland-Odessa and San Angelo with the IH 14 corridor.2

Route Information

  • North End – Amarillo, TX

  • South End – Lubbock, TX

  • Mileage – 124.13

  • Branches – 0

  • Cities – Lubbock, Canyon, Tulia, Amarillo

  • Junctions

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

Interstate 27 appeared first in the 1970 edition of the Rand McNally North American Road Atlas

Many portions of IH 27 were designated directly over previously four-laned sections of U.S. 87.

Texas Panhandle – 1984

Outside Lubbock, the last portion of Interstate 27 open to traffic was the easterly bypass of U.S. 87 between Happy and Canyon.

Looking southward from Downtown Amarillo at the interchange joining IH 27 and IH 40. The reconfiguration of this exchange elevated IH 40 above IH 27; the two previously met with IH 40 traveling at grade level. January 2001 webcam shot provided by John R. Detwiler.

History

Interstate 27 was not an original Interstate highway. It was approved by the Federal Highway Administration on December 12, 1968. Approval by the Texas State Highway Commission followed on February 1, 1969.3 The last segment of Interstate 27 (from 19th Street to 54th Street in Lubbock) opened to traffic on September 3, 1992.4,5

The turbine interchange where IH 27 and IH 40 meet south of Downtown Amarillo was reconfigured during a $33 million, three-year project completed in 2001.

The exchange joining IH 27/U.S. 60-87 with IH 40/U.S. 287 in Amarillo originally lacked a direct ramp from IH 40 east to IH 27 south. Construction started in January 2017 built a new flyover replacing the previous ramp configuration using the frontage road system. The direct connector opened temporarily in September 2018, and permanently on November 15, 2018. Associated work through Spring 2019 widened the IH 27 bridge across SE 26th Avenue.6

Highway Guides

North End – Amarillo, Texas

US 87 North US 60 West at I-40 US 287

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - Amarillo, TX

IH 27 directly replaced the alignments of U.S. 60/87 along Canyon Drive north and 36th Street east through south Amarillo. Turning toward IH 40, the freeway briefly shifts away from the historic U.S. highways (36th and Fillmore Streets) between Harrison Street and the 26th Avenue off-ramp (Exit 123A). Photo taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - Amarillo, TX

The right lane defaults onto Exit 123B beyond the 26th Avenue on-ramp for IH 40 and U.S. 287 south. Visible here was construction of the direct connector linking IH 40 east with IH 27 south. Photo taken 04/23/17.

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - Amarillo, TX

A turbine interchange (Exit 123B) joins the north end of IH 27 with IH 40 and U.S. 287 south. Photo taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - 2000

Button copy overheads along the IH 27/U.S. 60-87 mainline previously included control cities for IH 40 and U.S. 287. Advance signs now omit cities, while replacement overheads at the Exit 123B separation changed Tucumcari to Albuquerque, NM. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/00).

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - Amarillo, TX

Traffic separates onto single lane ramps for IH 40 west to Albuquerque, New Mexico and east to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Fort Worth references U.S. 287 leading southeast from Amarillo Photo taken 04/23/17.

IH 27/US 60-87 north at IH 40/US 287 - Amarillo, TX

An end sign for IH 27 stands at the overpasses carrying the IH 40 mainline. U.S. 60-87-287 overlap north from here to a pair of one-way couplets through the central business district. Photo taken 05/05/12.

US 60 East US 87 US 287 South at I-40

US 287 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

Taylor Street takes U.S. 287 southbound, one block to the west of northbound U.S. 87 (Fillmore Street), through Downtown Amarillo. The first guide sign for IH 27 and IH 40 appears south of SE 9th Street. Photo taken 04/23/17.

US 287 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

Three blocks further south, U.S. 287 diverges from Taylor Street with three lanes curving southeast to the merge with U.S. 60 west & U.S. 87 (Pierce Street) south. Photo taken 04/23/17.

US 287 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

Traffic from U.S. 60-87-287 southbound combines with five lanes. Motorists must navigate to either the IH 27 southbound mainline or the departing ramps for IH 40 and U.S. 287 south in a span of just two tenths of a mile. Photo taken 04/23/17.

US 60/87 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

A series of traffic lights line Pierce Street south as motorists pass under the half mile sign for IH 27 and IH 40. Photo taken 04/23/17.

US 60/87 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

Leaving the city center of Amarillo, U.S. 60 west & U.S. 87 south elevate over the Fillmore Street off-ramp and combine with the Taylor Street (U.S. 287) entrance ramp ahead of IH 27 and IH 40. Photo taken 05/05/12.

US 60/87 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

A weaving traffic pattern ensues at the merge point of U.S. 60/87 south with U.S. 287 south. U.S. 287 briefly overlaps with the two US highways before joining IH 40 east toward Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (AMA). Photo taken 05/05/12.

US 60-87-287 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

U.S. 60-87-287 span SE 15th Avenue ahead of the three-lane departure for IH 40 east to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and IH 40 west to Tucumcari and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo taken 04/23/17.

US 60-87-287 south at IH 27/40 - Amarillo, TX

The left two lanes continue as U.S. 60 west & U.S. 87 south as well as nascent IH 27. U.S. 287 accompanies IH 40 for 7.8 miles before branching southeast to Claude, Clarendon and ultimately Fort Worth. Photo taken 05/05/12.

I-40 East at US 60 US 87 US 287

IH 40 east at IH 27/US 60-87-287 - Amarillo, TX

An auxiliary lane opens along IH 40 east from Washington Street to IH 27 and U.S. 60-87-287 at Exit 70. U.S. 60 angles northeast from Hereford to combine with U.S. 87 and IH 27 north from Canyon. Beyond the overlap with U.S. 87-287 through Downtown Amarillo, U.S. 60 ventures northeast to Panhandle, Pampa and Canadian. Photo taken 05/05/12.

IH 40 east at IH 27/US 60-87-287 - Amarillo, TX

Exit 70 parts ways with IH 40 east at the Tyler Street underpass. IH 27 south reaches the Lubbuck city limits in 115 miles. U.S. 87/287 north overlap from Amarillo to Dumas. U.S. 87 angles northwest to Clayton, New Mexico, then turns north to follow the Interstate 25 corridor, while U.S. 287 follows the Ports to Plains Corridor north to Interstate 70 near Limon. Photo taken 05/05/12.

IH 40 east at IH 27/US 60-87-287 - Amarillo, TX

Exit 70 partitions for U.S. 60-87-287 north to Buchanan and Fillmore Streets through Downtown Amarillo, IH 27/U.S. 60-87 south toward Canyon and Lubbock, and 26th Avenue. Photo taken 05/05/12.

I-40 West US 287 North at US 60 US 87

IH 40/US 287 west at IH 27/US 60-87 - Amarillo, TX

IH 40 west & U.S. 287 north span a BNSF Railroad yard ahead of their split at IH 27/U.S. 60-87 (Exit 70). Photo taken 05/05/12.

IH 40/US 287 west at IH 27/US 60-87 - Amarillo, TX

IH 40 continues west toward Tucumcari and Albuquerque, New Mexico as Exit 70 departs for IH 27/U.S. 60-87 south to Canyon and Lubbock and U.S. 60-87-287 north through Downtown Amarillo. Photo taken 05/05/12.

IH 40/US 287 west at IH 27/US 60-87 - Amarillo, TX

Single lane ramps take motorists onto IH 27-U.S. 87 south & U.S. 60 west and U.S. 60-87-287 north to their couplet system along Buchanan and Fillmore Streets. Photo taken 05/05/12.

US 87 South US 60 East

IH 27/US 60-87 south at Randall County, TX

The first confirming marker for IH 27 appears just beyond the Randall County line, 0.75 miles south of IH 40. Photo taken 04/24/17.

South End / 82nd Street – Lubbock, Texas

US 87 South at State Loop 289

IH 27/US 87 south at US 84 - Lubbock, TX

IH 27 and U.S. 87 follow a below grade, six-lane freeway corridor south of Downtown Lubbock. Exit 1B links with the west side frontage road leading south to the three level interchange with U.S. 84 (Avenue Q) and Avenue A (old U.S. 87 Business north). Photo taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 87 south at SL 289 - Lubbock, TXIH 27/US 87 south at SL 289 - Lubbock, TX

Exit 1A connects IH 27 south directly with Loop 289 west. Loop 289 east is accessed via either the IH 27 frontage road south or by following U.S. 84 east to MLK Boulevard. Photos taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 87 south at SL 289 - Lubbock, TX

Passing under the Loop 289 mainline and frontage road system, traffic on IH 27/U.S. 87 separates with the two-lane ramp (Exit 1A) for Loop 289 west. U.S. 87 extends south as a full freeway another 4.6 miles to 146th Street. Photo taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 87 south at SL 289 - Lubbock, TX

IH 27 extends a short distance beyond Loop 289 to the diamond interchange (Exit 1) with 82nd Street. 82nd Street runs along the south Lubbock city line from Avenue P east to U.S. 84. Photo taken 04/24/17.

IH 27/US 87 south at 82nd St - Lubbock, TX

IH 27 ends at the off-ramp (Exit 1) for 82nd Street. U.S. 87 continues south 25.4 miles to U.S. 380 in Tahoka. Photo taken 04/24/17.

US 87 North at State Loop 289

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

The first advance signage for Loop 289 precedes the unnumbered diamond interchange joining the U.S. 87 freeway with 98th Street. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

U.S. 87 passes over 98th Street on the one mile approach Exit 1 with 82nd Street. IH 27 begins on the north side of the diamond interchange with 82nd Street. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

All movements from U.S. 87 north to Loop 289 and U.S. 84 (Avenue Q) are made via the IH 27 frontage road north from 82nd Street (Exit 1). U.S. 84 leads northwest from Lubbock to Littlefield and southeast to Slaton. Photo taken by 05/05/12.

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

The IH 27 frontage road system north to Avenue Q was formerly a part of U.S. 87 Business. Decommissioned by 2012, U.S. 87 Business paralleled the east side of the freeway to U.S. 84 and Avenue A. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

U.S. 87 upgrades to IH 27 as Exit 1 departs for 82nd Street, SL 289, U.S. 84 and Avenue A. SL 289 encircles Lubbock as a 26.09 mile freeway. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

US 87 north at IH 27 - Lubbock, TX

The zero milepost for IH 27 stands just north of the 82nd Street on-ramp. IH 27 and U.S. 87 remain cosigned through Lubbock. Photo taken 04/24/17.

State Loop 289 East at US 87

SL 289 east at IH 27/US 87 - Lubbock, TX

A Breezewood type connection requires motorists to travel by a number of businesses along the SL 289 frontage road to access U.S. 87 south from IH 27 to Tahoka. Photo taken 05/06/12.

SL 289 east at IH 27/US 87 - Lubbock, TXSL 289 east at IH 27/US 87 - Lubbock, TX

A high speed flyover joins Loop 289 eastbound with IH 27 & U.S. 87 north directly. IH 27 and U.S. 87 head north from Lubbock to Plainview, Tulia, Canyon and Amarillo. Photos taken 05/06/12.

State Loop 289 West at US 87

SL 289 west at IH 27/US 87 - Lubbock, TX

Loop 289 heads west from U.S. 84 (Slaton Highway) through an industrial area ahead of the frontage road ramp for IH 27 north and U.S. 87. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

SL 289 west at IH 27/US 87 - Lubbock, TX

The SL 289 ramp for IH 27 north and U.S. 87 departs well ahead of the cloverleaf interchange between the two freeways. U.S. 87 travels south from Lubbock to Lamesa, Big Spring (IH 20), San Angelo, Comfort (IH 10) and San Antonio. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/17/06).

Sources:

  1. San Angelo Leaders Approve TxDOT I-27 Interstate Feasibility Study.SanAngeloLive.com. July 31, 2015.
  2. “City council endorses interstate extension through San Angelo.” San Angelo Standard-Times (TX), March 21, 2019.
  3. Interstate Highway No. 27. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Highway Designation File.
  4. “From Anywhere to Everywhere: The Development of the Interstate Highway System in Texas.” http://tti.tamu.edu/interstate_anniversary/white_paper/ by Penny Beaumont, Rhonda Brinkmann, David Ellis, Chris Pourteau, and Brandon V. Webb, Texas Transportation Institute, page 29.
  5. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  6. “Direct connector between I-27 south and I-40 east permanently opens.” KVII-TV7 (Amarillo, TX), November 16, 2018.

Page updated August 20, 2019.