By KIM BLACK
You can’t go anywhere in Amarillo without running into road construction or maintenance crews. Orange cones. Orange barrels. Orange vests. Unfortunately, those terrible orange monsters are necessary. I’ll go so far as to say that I wish there were more of them as there are many ridiculous potholes in town.
The problem is that Amarillo is growing, and the roads must be maintained. It’s cheaper and less trouble to keep something in shape than to let it go and then be forced to start all over. The city road crews do the regular and preventative maintenance, and they move around as needed to fill potholes and to micro surface neighborhood and arterial roads, according to Matt Thomas, city engineer. “But all this road work
makes traffic worse.”
I know, and I’ll restate that it’s necessary and a good thing. I’ve attended a lot of state conferences and conventions as a professional building designer and at every one I heard that once a city’s population hits 200,000 people, it will likely double over the next 10 years. According to the April 1, 2020, census, Amarillo hit 200,393. That means that by 2030,
we could have a population of 400,000 residents. And all of those people—all of those drivers—will be crammed onto the streets that are already overloaded.
On the bright side, hitting that 200K mark also means that Amarillo will see bigger names in concert, bigger employment opportunities and more dining and entertainment options.
In the meantime, what can we do to cope with all this traffic? Be patient. Growing pains are real, but they don’t last forever. Experts advise to allow for extra driving time, drive defensively and stay focused. And I find it fun to imagine that every orange cone means another dollar landing in my bank account.