I-27 expansion clears important hurdle

Local News

San Angelo has been talking about an interstate for a long time.  

“We have been working on the interstate conversation, or sometimes referred to as Ports to Plains, for many years, a couple of decades,” said Mayor Brenda Gunter, referring to the Ports to Plains Corridor, which has been in the works since before 1995. 

We’re talking about an interstate again. Now, it’s Interstate 27, and this time might be different. We spoke to State Representative Charles Perry who said, “Well, I think the odds are it’s going to happen” 

Governor Abbot signed House Bill 1079 on June 10th, which directs the Texas Department of Transportation to begin a feasibility study for the expansion of I-27 from Amarillo to the northern border, and from Lubbock all the way down to Laredo. 

“Logically it makes sense,” said Perry “There’s a huge trade partner to the south, there’s a huge trade partner to the north. Everything in between is the agricultural beltway of the country, the world, if you will. So, why you wouldn’t have an open trade, for ag-corridor specifically, but also to alleviate a lot of the I-35 traffic.” 

That means a major national highway connection in San Angelo ⁠— eventually. 

“This is a minimum twenty-year project to get that extension done from Laredo,” said Perry. So, it’s going to be a long time. But let’s imagine we’re in the future. How would an interstate work in San Angelo? 

“We would build reliever routes,” said Brenda Gunter, when we asked her about plans the city has for highway routing, “that would keep all of the interstate from coming through the center of town.” 

Those reliever routes would make it possible to route an interstate from Highway 277 on the south side of town, along Loop 306 East, to Highway 87 on the north side of town. 

“You know, we’re spending thirty-eight-million dollars around the Howard College area,” said Gunter, “and that’s part of this whole reliever route conversation. So, we’ve been working on it. We’ve been doing what we need to do as a community to prepare. But we need TxDOT’s support in taking it from where we’re at to where we want to go.” 

Regardless of how long it takes, the expansion of Interstate 27 represents opportunities for growth, not only for San Angelo but for all of the communities along the proposed route.

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