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Author Topic: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM  (Read 18247 times)

agentsteel53

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US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« on: September 10, 2009, 05:22:41 PM »

any idea if this will become a full freeway?  They're upgrading a bunch of it.  Between Clayton and Capulin it is four-lanes divided, and several sections between Capulin and Raton are four-lane undivided.  I have not driven past Clayton on US-87 so I dunno what it's like in Texas but that is the way the Plains to Gulf corridor goes...
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Chris

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 03:36:45 AM »

Traffic volumes in New Mexico are only around 2,000 - 3,500 AADT. I think a four-lane, divided highway would be nice, but I think a full freeway is far-fetched.

agentsteel53

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2009, 11:48:23 AM »

yeah, it is pretty abandoned, but so is I-70 in Utah!  :-D
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J N Winkler

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2009, 08:52:27 PM »

I think the upgrade NW of Clayton (US 87 was still just two lanes when I last drove it, less than ten years ago) is a result of Governor Johnson's rural four-laning program.  US 285 between Roswell and Santa Fé, US 70 between Roswell and Portales, and US 54 between the Texas state line and Alamogordo are other examples of corridors which are now four lanes (four lanes divided in all of these cases) but carry so little traffic they would have functioned efficiently with two-lane roads for many years to come.  I am actually kind of sorry they widened US 70 between Portales and Roswell, to be honest, because I used to make that drive fairly often and liked the feel of the two-lane ribbon feeding under my wheels as the winter sun dropped toward the horizon; with another carriageway in the distance that atmosphere is now gone.

In Texas, US 87 is a freeway for some distance north of downtown Amarillo.  I think it has been built in various phases because the geometry improves noticeably the further north you get from downtown.  The freeway peters out a little north of Loop 335 and I am not aware of any plans for its further extension, or indeed any upgrades to US 87 between Amarillo and the New Mexico state line.  If Texas wants to widen the existing two-lane portions of this corridor to four lanes divided, it would arguably make sense to build a beeline (on new location) to Hartley since the present routing via Dumas is rather indirect.
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Sykotyk

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2009, 11:16:42 PM »

Well, US-287 is the major trucking route between Denver and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There's no saying how much traffic takes alternate routes (I70 to I-135 to I-35, or I-25 to US-87 to US-287 etc).

The problem with US-87 is that it takes you to I-25 right south of Raton Pass. While US-287 is mostly flat farm land to Limon and I-70.

With all the work US-287 has, it's obvious Colorado has no interest in upgrading it to freeway, or even four-lane standards. Get stuck behind a 62 mph truck on that road and you'll be begging for it to be four-laned.

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leifvanderwall

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 04:28:27 PM »

I think it another good suggestion for the I-27 northern extension and it will make the travel to Denver so much easier by bypassing Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
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Chris

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2009, 04:54:13 PM »

Who would drive from I-27 to Denver via Albuquerque anyway? That's like a 300 mile detour. If you want to cut the non-freeway part short, you can take US 84 to Las Vegas (New Mexico). But I guess it's faster using US 87.

brad2971

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2009, 12:36:05 PM »

"I think it another good suggestion for the I-27 northern extension and it will make the travel to Denver so much easier by bypassing Santa Fe and Albuquerque."

Sure it would. Too bad current traffic counts don't justify a dual carriageway, much less freeway. From the OK line to Limon, US287 averages between 2500-3500 VPD. Even though up to 60% :-o of that is truck traffic, CDOT can only justify the expense of rebuilding that stretch in concrete. And ARRA is paying for most of that right now :nod:
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leifvanderwall

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 03:07:12 AM »

uh Chris, I meant use the US 87 corridor to bypass Albuquerque
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Sykotyk

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2009, 05:01:57 PM »

"I think it another good suggestion for the I-27 northern extension and it will make the travel to Denver so much easier by bypassing Santa Fe and Albuquerque."

Sure it would. Too bad current traffic counts don't justify a dual carriageway, much less freeway. From the OK line to Limon, US287 averages between 2500-3500 VPD. Even though up to 60% :-o of that is truck traffic, CDOT can only justify the expense of rebuilding that stretch in concrete. And ARRA is paying for most of that right now :nod:

True, but how much traffic takes from the DFW area I-35 to I-135 to I-70 (the google maps preferred way). How many of those travelers, if given the choice, would take a direct freeway from DFW to Denver.

There's four main routes: I-35 to I-135 to I-70 // US-287 to I-40 to US-84 to I-25 // US-287 to I-70 // US-287 to US-87 to I-25.

How many of those people on those routes are doing Denver-to-Dallas area travel. I find it amazing that these two major cities don't have a direct freeway. Traffic counting doesn't work when people are taking alternate routes to avoid what they perceive as substandard roads (I-70/135/35).

Not a lot of people probably take US-63 through Arkansas, but if it were upgraded to a freeway from Springfield, MO to the future I-555 traffic levels would increase dramatically over the current usage levels.

And a bigger issue is not just traffic, but commercial traffic. I've driven US-287 from Limon to Fort Worth. Truck after truck after truck using that as the main shipping corridor from Denver to Dallas and further south to Houston, etc.

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brad2971

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 12:10:30 AM »

"And a bigger issue is not just traffic, but commercial traffic. I've driven US-287 from Limon to Fort Worth. Truck after truck after truck using that as the main shipping corridor from Denver to Dallas and further south to Houston, etc."


And about 90% of that truck traffic would go on I-70 to I-135 to I-35 if it weren't for the need to pay up to $12.25 to go 40 miles south of Wichita.  :pan:

There is no need for a direct Interstate route between Denver and the Metroplex. Once you get past US36 east of Denver, you don't run into 15000 VPD on I-70 until I-135, a distance of more than 400 miles. Combine that with a just-as-lightly travelled I-135, and the 70-135-35 route from Denver to the Metroplex is more than adequate. And we won't get into the numerous available flights between the two high-capacity airports, will we :sombrero:
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Sykotyk

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2009, 01:57:05 AM »

Airfare is only cost-effective if it's either a) one person, or b) time critical. Otherwise, car travel is much more feasible.

As for your blurb about truck traffic, think again. It's also 93 miles shorter. At $2.60 a gallon for 6mpg works out to $40.30 PLUS the I-35 toll. That's why trucks don't take I-70 to I-135 to I-35.

Even if not a freeway, for all the work Colorado just did on US-287, there is limited abilities to pass from Limon to the Oklahoma state line. Namely in Hugo, Kit Carson, Lamar, and the few truck lanes on hills. As for VPD, drive the road sometime and tell me it doesn't bottleneck horribly. Especially when some trucks hit their governor at 60-62mph. That's fun being behind them with no chance to pass.

The biggest problem is not that it isn't a freeway. But a lack of passing opportunities, no bypasses of small towns with absurdly low speed-trap set speed limits, and a general direct route for people.  Besides, google's routing algorithm doesn't factor in actual drive times, but estimated average rates given a road's designation. So of course it see's I-70 to I-135 to I-35 as the best, although I've timed it legally and can do US-287 faster, given that I can pass slow vehicles when I need to, and that's even with all the lights from Lamar, Dumas, Childress, and down through Decatur.

But, be snide. That's fine. Be reactive instead of proactive. Wait until there's a problem instead of seeing it advance and making sure it doesn't become one.

Sykotyk
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Chris

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2009, 04:57:26 AM »

If I look at the traffic volumes for US 287 in Colorado, one can see the truck percentage is around 50%, which is quite a lot, however, outside towns, traffic volumes on US 287 are around 3,000 AADT. Only the duplex with US 50 in Lamar is somewhat busier at 12,000 AADT.

3,000 AADT doesn't even require a divided highway. Given that around 80% of the traffic happens between 7 am and 7 pm, this means there are about 200 vehicles per hour on US 287 or 100 per direction per hour during the day. That's really low and typically gives a lot of passing opportunities.

Sykotyk

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Re: US-87 between Amarillo, TX and Raton, NM
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2009, 08:21:11 PM »

Chris, like I said, drive the road sometime and tell me if you feel there's adequate passing time. The problem is when one truck is stuck at 60mph, all other traffic backs up behind them. I've seen 20 vehicles behind one truck before on that road. it's not fun and a huge waste of time. The problem, then, is that there's another slow truck coming at you with their own line of cars building up behind them. You get very reckless passing attempts caused by the impatience of morons.

Colorado just went and redid most of the road, and the road has an adequate 10' shoulder in most places. Only a little wider and they could've had at least three lanes intermittent, or four lanes with limited shoulders. Instead, they rebuilt the road pretty much as is.

Sykotyk
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