When to expect relief from the orange barricades on many Lubbock road projects

Loop 88 construction site in Lubbock, Texas.

Loop 88 construction site near Indiana Avenue.

Within a month or so, drivers will be traveling on the eastbound frontage road next to FM1585 – or 130th Street – which will eventually become Loop 88.

More traffic changes are looming for 19th Street between Avenue Q and I-27.

Woodrow Road is still a two-lane road, but drivers can now see a wider future route right in front of Cooper High School.

People who wonder when these and other projects will be done are not alone.

Lubbock and Lubbock County recently asked for updates on high-profile road projects – many of which are supervised by TxDOT – the Texas Department of Transportation.

Local TxDOT engineer Joe Villalobos answered questions last week in a joint meeting of the City Council and County Commissioner’s Court.

Mayor Tray Payne said citizens had concerns about 19th Street. A portion of that project – between Interstate 27 and Avenue Q – saw little progress in the last several months as workers paused the road work long enough to find and fix underground utility lines.

Meanwhile, the portion along the southern edge of Texas Tech University (between Memphis and University avenues) wrapped up recently except for street lighting.

Here’s a look at what people heard at that meeting.

Quick summary

  • 19th Street, Memphis to University – Complete, except for streetlights.
  • 19th Street, I-27 to Ave. Q – More traffic changes coming in the next few weeks.
  • 19th Street, Ave. Q to University – Repaving still to come.
  • Avenue Q from Marsha Sharp Freeway to 19th – New medians and ADA ramps are done. Work starts any day now on a new road surface and should be finished by the end of May.
  • Loop 88 – In preparation for the new freeway, intersections with University, Indiana, Quaker and Slide were widened. Next is finishing the eastbound frontage road and after that the westbound frontage road. Main lane construction is about a year out.
  • 114th Street – The portion from Memphis to Indiana is closed right now and should be fully open by the end of July.
  • Woodrow Road from Loop 493 to Indiana – Work continues in front of Lubbock Cooper High School. Certain aspects of the work should go faster while school is out for summer. (Click here to see our previous coverage.)
  • Woodrow Road from Indiana to Slide –Money is set aside for the portion between Indiana Avenue to Slide Road. Companies can bid on the project this fall.
  • Interstate-27 at Yucca Lane and FM 1294 – Replacement of the I-27 bridge overpass at Yucca continues. Once finished, crews will replace nearby ramps as part of a two-year project. Traffic is down to one lane in each direction on I-27 at FM 1294 for a bridge repair.
  • Regis Street at I-27 – Recently finished.
  • County Road 2300 – Currently CR 2300 (Avenue P) on the west side of Lubbock Cooper is half paved, according to Lubbock County. Money has been set aside to finish it.
  • County Road 1700 (Milwaukee) – The city and county are jointly planning to widen the road between 4th Street and Clovis Highway. Officials are still working to purchase the right of way.
  • Ports to Plains – Interstate 27, as of March 22 when President Biden signed the I-27 Numbering Act of 2023, is the official designation of the route north of Amarillo and south of Lubbock. Some aspects of the project are funded, but not all.
  • Highway 87 at FM 41 – Work on the overpass at this intersection stopped months ago because of a problem with the contractor. During the joint meeting of city and county leaders, TxDOT said a new contractor has not been hired yet. (Click here to see our previous coverage.)

19th Street update

Work on 19th Street between Avenue Q and the interstate started in June 2022. It’s a three-year project and there have been delays along the way because TxDOT agreed to work with the city to find and replace utilities.

Villalobos told local officials in their joint meeting, “We’re expecting a major traffic change in the upcoming weeks because we do have a water tie-in right there at 19th and Avenue Q. That’s going to be delayed a little bit.”

Lubbock High School is in the middle of the overall work zone.

“We’re planning to do water line, storm sewer, things like that in the summer. That way we can have less disruption to traffic at Lubbock High,” Villalobos also said.

LubbockLights.com also spoke with TxDOT Public Information Officer Dianah Ascencio.

“They’re doing some concrete work, placing the sidewalk and the curb and gutter,” Ascencio said about that portion of 19th.

Ascencio also said the new asphalt in the westbound lanes is not yet the final road surface. So, there’s more to come.

Building a brand-new Loop

Loop 88 replaces a portion of FM 1585 south of Lubbock. A portion of the new freeway east of Chicago Avenue will, if on schedule, be done by October 2026. The portion west of Chicago does not yet have a due date.

Major intersections between Slide Road and University are widened.

Ascencio said, “They’ll build the frontage roads first and put all traffic on the frontage roads. And then once those are completed, they’ll begin work on the main lanes and the bridges.”

Work is already under way for the eastbound frontage roads.

“Some bridge work has already been done. They have put in some of the columns,” Ascencio said. “But the majority of the work won’t really begin until we have both of those frontage roads eastbound and westbound built.”

Villalobos said, “We are planning to detour traffic to that eastbound frontage road within the next month or so.”

“They’ll be on brand new concrete pavement.” Villalobos said. Temporary traffic signals will be set up along the detour. He also promised there will be access “at all times” to businesses.

“This is economic development,” Villalobos said. “Once we develop these roads, you widen out to a freeway, you get a lot of businesses coming in.”

  • Loop 88 construction site in Lubbock, Texas.


(Slideshow: Loop 88 construction site and a portion of 19th Street, both from mid-March.)

27 is a big number

Cul-de-sac: noun a short road that is blocked off at one end (Cambridge Dictionary).

Technically, Interstate 27 doesn’t fit the bill. But it gets close – connecting with Interstate 40 in Amarillo and ending quite unceremoniously at 82nd Street in Lubbock.

That’s about to change.

President Biden signed the I-27 Numbering Act of 2023 in March 2024. It comes two years after a route from Laredo to an intersection with Interstate 25 was designated as interstate highway. It was estimated in 2022 to bring more than 22,000 new jobs to Texas.

Cotton is one example. Lauren Garduno, president and CEO of the Ports to Plains Alliance, explained it to councilmembers and commissioners in their joint session.

“Today that cotton goes on trucks over to Fort Worth – gets on a rail – rails right back through Lubbock on its way to Long Beach, California.”

Forty percent of U.S. cotton grows in or near Lubbock, said Garduno.

China might use Mexican textiles more often in the future. Maybe Interstate 27 could take the cotton south to Mexico, Garduno said.

“All of the sudden, it now maybe makes more sense for our corridor south of Lubbock,” Garduno said.

“Twelve of the nation’s top 20 feed lots are on our corridor. Cattle is a $12 billion industry in Texas,” he said. “It’s a $3 billion export with Mexico.”

Garduno said 1,200 or more people move to Texas every day. Texas needs a way to move food and supplies where they need to go. The faster I-27 gets built north of Amarillo and south of Lubbock, the better.

A study from 2020 pegged the cost at $23.5 billion to make interstate highways for the entire Ports to Plains corridor from Laredo to the border with Canada. Garduno thinks the cost is a little higher now.

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Author: James Clark- James Clark is the associate editor of Lubbock Lights. He worked in radio, television and digital media for a combined total of more than 30 years. He was Director of Digital News Content at KAMC, KLBK and EverythingLubbock.com for nearly 10 years.