Federal Update | State Infrastructure Investment Impact | Article from FreightWaves on I-27

January 2022  Volume 20  Issue 1


We are a voice for our small town, grassroots members who may otherwise not have access to the right audiences, as well as a conduit for industry to come together in support and promotion of transportation improvements.


We are committed to working as an Alliance to improve transportation infrastructure and business networks opportunities, by advocating for appropriate funding levels, so business and industry can thrive.


We are focused on the economic and business interests that are the lifeblood of the region.


Our view: Strong effort still underway on behalf of Interstate 27

The recent approval of Interstate 14 should fuel optimism, not envy, as far as the future of an extended Interstate 27 is concerned. That’s the message of elected leaders who have been actively involved in the Interstate 27 project for years, and we agree. Texas in general, and West Texas in particular, will be better off as a result of being part of the I-14 corridor that eventually will run from Midland-Odessa and across Central Texas before crossing through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and ending at Augusta, Georgia.


The I-14 system will improve connectivity between regions, provide freight movement efficiency, link important military facilities and strategic seaports, create a high-elevation alternative for coastal sections of I-10 that are prone to flooding, and spur economic development opportunities along the 1,300-mile path,” John Thompson, chairman of the I-14 Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, said in our recent story.


A similar path remains possible for Interstate 27, which runs between Lubbock and Amarillo, where it connects to Interstate-40. From conception, though, I-27 has been envisioned to be a first link in what would be a vital north-south transportation artery connecting the food, fuel and fiber of the region to the rest of the country.


That has not changed as a result of the I-14 project being included in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed late last year. Advocacy efforts on behalf of I-14 had been underway for some time, and a patient, coordinate effort ultimately was rewarded with Texas among the winners as a result.


Any time we get infrastructure in West Texas, we celebrate,” U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, R, Lubbock, said in our story. “I-14 is going to be good for our entire region and plays into our efforts to extend I-27.”


Arrington has been instrumental in working on behalf of the I-27 extension. He and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, filed legislation (the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act) last year that would result in the remaining I-27 corridor being designated a federal highway. The idea is to take I-27 south to Laredo and nation’s southern border and north from the Panhandle to the border with Canada.


“Establishing a four-lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing America’s agriculture and energy dominance,” Arrington said. “This investment in rural America will strengthen the supply from the largest agricultural and energy production centers to the rest of the country.”


The case for I-27 expansion has been made in this space before, and the reasons remain compelling. There is the obvious commercial impact on West Texas, and there is the additional impact of safety with a four-lane, divided highway offering a less hazardous travel option. Likewise, it would relieve pressure off Interstate-35, a north-south route that has become increasingly congested as the state’s population has grown – a trend expected to continue.


Arrington and others say they are “cautiously optimistic” the I-27 corridor will receive additional resources with the possibility that could happen in the current budget cycle. The project can’t move forward without federal funding support. Arrington says I-27 is in a strong position for such consideration, but there remains a lot of competition from other projects.


As is the case with Interstate 14, extending Interstate 27 is also a critical need for West Texas that would connect this part of the state and its resources with the rest of the country. We applaud local leaders for all of their leadership in trying to make this happen.

Lubbock Avalanche Journal Editorial Board


Colorado Progress


Colorado continues to make safety improvements on both the Ports-to-Plains (U.S. 40/287) and Heartland Expressway (CO 71) corridors passing through Colorado. The Colorado 10-year Vision continues to be updated.  Projects must be in this plan in order to be constructed.  As you will see, multiple projects are included in that Vision, but not all are funded through the first four years of the vision or through years 5-8.  


Heartland Expressway (CO-71) and the 10-Year Vision Plan


For the Heartland Expressway, there is good and not as good news.   In terms of Bridge Improvements, the Northeast Bridge Rehabilitation and Repair Project includes bridge rehabilitation and/or repair in the Eastern and Upper Front Range Transportation Planning Regions in counties of Lincoln, Washington, Morgan and Weld. The Project includes three locations.  

The CO 71 Limon Structures has a project estimate of $620,000.  The not-as-good news is that any funding has been postponed beyond years 5-8. The same is true for CO 71 Stoneham with a project cost of $140,000.  The good news is that the CO 71 Big Beaver Creek with a project estimate of $4,780,000. Colorado Department of Transportation has recommended full funding for years 5-8.

Northeast Rural Road Resurfacing Project providing resurfacing of CO 71 in Lincoln, Washington, Morgan and Weld Counties.


Resurfacing CO 71 South of CO 14, with a project estimate of $24,130,000 has recommended projects funding of $15,000,000 for years of 5-8. However, the CO 71 North of Brush with a project estimate of $3,480,000 has been postponed beyond years 5-8.

CO 71 Corridor Improvements includes reconstruction of corridor, shoulder widening, safety, operational, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) components on CO 71 between south of Limon and the Nebraska State Line in Lincoln, Washington, Morgan, and Weld counties.
The total project estimate is $200,000,000. The 10-year Vision Plan provides for strategic funding of $27.38 million, but through years 5-8 $11,400,000 is funded.

Ports-to-Plains (US 40/287) and the 10-Year Vision Plan

Just completed was the US 40/287 Passing Lanes project.
This project strategically added new passing lanes or extended existing passing lanes at six critical locations along this international freight route. It is the goal of the Region to provide a minimum of 8 miles of passing lanes for every 20-mile stretch along freight corridors. The project cost is $20,000,000.

One Ports-to-Plains Corridor bridge project is the US 40: Wild Horse project.  This project has an estimate of $820,000 but has been postponed beyond years 5-8.

In the Southeast Region, there are two projects in the 10-Year Vision. The US 287 Lamar Downtown PCCP – Phase I & Phase 2 provided reconstruction of US 287 from Savage South to County Road CC (MP 73) and from Hickory Street to Beech Street by the Amtrak station in Lamar in Prowers County. Funding available is $18,000,000.

The US 287 Bridge Preventative Maintenance – Phases 1 and 2 maintains two bridges north of Eads and seven close to Springfield in Baca and Kiowa counties. $5,000,000 is funded through SB 267.


The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway 4-lane project is going SOUTH!!!!

Watford City to the Long-X Bridge Right of Way acquisition has started and should be complete sometime in the summer of 2022. Once the acquired necessary right-of-way is acquired, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will move forward with relocating utilities that are in the way. Many times, utilities are located on the back side of right-of-way, which is why NDDOT is waiting on the movement of utilities. NDDOT anticipates utilities should be done by fall of 2022. NDDOT is planning to bid the project in the fall of 2022 or early spring of 2023. We should see some dirt moving on this stretch in 2023.


Long-X Bridge to Hwy 200 NDDOT will need to bring on a consultant to work on designing this next stretch and are planning to have a request for proposal to do this work the first week in December of 2021. This piece of the 4-Lane project has been particularly challenging. It is great to see progress soon.


The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association (TREA) has been working closely with NDDOT to assist in funding these projects along with the State Legislature’s and Federal Delegations. The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest long-term investment for our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The need for action in North Dakota is clear, and recently released state-level data demonstrates that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver for North Dakota.


In terms of Oversize/Overweight Permitted Loads, here is the Updated Final Comparison for 2021.

Additionally, TREA is pulling data from the segments of U.S. 85.


Duffy Hinkle

Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 16226

Lubbock, TX 79490



Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828



Cal Klewin

Executive Director

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association

PO Box 1306

Williston, ND 58802



Deb Cottier


Heartland Expressway Association

337 Main Street

Chadron, NE 69337




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