Amarillo, Texas

According to, Amarillo (pronunciation: AM-ə-RIL-oh) is a city in the US state of Texas, located in the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo has 201,000 inhabitants and an agglomeration of 270,000 inhabitants (2021).


Amarillo is the northern of the two major cities of the Texas Panhandle, the other being Lubbock 180 kilometers south. Amarillo is located in a flat steppe area and is divided approximately 50/50 into Potter County and Randall County. The city is not on a river of any importance, but the Canadian River flows 30 kilometers to the north. The region’s economy is based on raw materials and processing industries, especially meat. A lot of natural gas is extracted around Amarillo. Amarillo is nationally known for Pantex, the only place in the United States where nuclear weapons are assembled and destroyed.

Amarillo’s population is growing steadily, roughly in line with the average population growth in the United States. It’s not a growth city like Austin, Dallas or Houston, but also not a shrinking city like the Texas countryside. In the 1950s the city exceeded 100,000 inhabitants and grew to almost 200,000 inhabitants after 2010. Housing in Amarillo is very affordable. Amarillo has a continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The maximum temperature is an average of 33 °C in July and the minimum temperature is an average of -5 °C in January. Amarillo is a very sunny city, precipitation falls in the winter in the form of snow and in the summer often with thunderstorms. Due to its location in ‘Tornado Alley’, tornadoes are frequent in the region in the spring. Southeast of Amarillo is Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States.

Road network

The road network around Amarillo.

Amarillo is a hub for traffic in this part of the United States. Interstate 27 begins in Amarillo and runs south to Lubbock. Interstate 40 runs east-west from Oklahoma City to Albuquerque. Amarillo is about halfway between both cities along I-40. I-27 and I-40 intersect via a turbine interchange, one of the few full turbine interchanges in the United States.

A number of US Highways pass through Amarillo. US 87 runs north from Amarillo through the Texas Panhandle and is a fairly important corridor for through (freight) traffic. US 60 runs northeast from Amarillo to Oklahoma. US 287 connects Amarillo to Fort Worth and is the main non-freeway to other parts of Texas.

Loop 335, a complete ring road of 64 kilometers in length, runs around Amarillo. In part, Loop 335 runs quite well outside Amarillo. The Loop 335 is not a freeway, but it is partly a 2×2 divided highway. Through north-south traffic in Amarillo must either cross downtown, as I-27 becomes US 87 which is not a freeway, or traffic must go around Amarillo via Loop 335. US 87 is a freeway north of downtown.


Built by Amarillo in the 1960s, I-40 was originally the only Interstate Highway planned for Amarillo. By 1968, I-40 was completed through the city, replacing US 66. Later, I-27 was added, which would partly run over the existing US 87. US 87 was originally a 2×2 divided highway through Amarillo and was converted to a freeway in the second half of the 1970s, including the turbine interchange with I-40.


It is planned to convert Loop 335 around Amarillo into a freeway in phases, first on the south side of Amarillo, and presumably then on the west side. However, it will be years before the entire Loop 335 is a freeway. There are ambitious plans to build two 5-level stacks with I-40 on either side of Amarillo. These will be the first interchanges with flyovers in the city.


There are no toll roads in Amarillo and none are planned for the time being.

Traffic intensities

Amarillo’s busiest highway is Interstate 40, which in 2012 handled up to 95,000 vehicles a day east of I-27. Every day, 41,000 vehicles drive through downtown Amarillo because there is no I-27 here.

Amarillo, Texas