Stuck in Traffic

This infamous Austin highway has the absolute worst traffic in Texas

This infamous Austin highway has the absolute worst traffic in Texas

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
Yep, I-35 near downtown is the most congested roadway in Texas. Courtesy photo

It's official: Austin has the worst traffic in Texas. A new report from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) lists the most congested roadways in the state, and it should come as no surprise that I-35 takes the top spot.

The annual 100 Congested Roadways project tracks Texas' traffic hot spots by pulling info from both public and private databases. This year, the infamous section of I-35 near downtown Austin between U.S. Route 290 and Texas State Highway 71 was named the No. 1 most congested roadway.

This dubious road also placed at No. 1 across all metrics that determined each roadway's congestion.

TxDot used the Texas Congestion Index (TCI) to demonstrate how long it takes to get somewhere during peak flow versus free flow times. On this particular stretch of I-35, a commute that should take about 30 minutes takes closer to 75 minutes during rush hour. To adjust for the worst kind of rush hour traffic, TxDOT also calculated the Planning Time Index (PTI). According to the index, for that same 30-minute commute, you should plan for over 150 minutes.

The traffic forecast for the rest of I-35 in Austin is also pretty grim: The second most congested roadway in Travis County is along I-35 between Highway 71 and Slaughter Lane.

Rounding out Travis County's top five high-traffic areas are MoPac Expressway between U.S. Route 183 and Texas State Highway Loop 360 (No. 3), I-35 between Parmer Lane and U.S. Route 290 (No. 4), and I-35 between Slaughter Lane and Texas State Highway 45 (No. 5).

Does all this traffic talk sound scary? Unfortunately, it should. TxDOT produces the annual report "to illustrate the severity and extent of Texas' traffic congestion problem."

"Year after year we see one theme that continues to resonate," said Marc Williams, TxDOT's interim deputy director, in a press release. "Our growing communities and worsening traffic congestion in Texas are, in fact, very real, and they call for a variety of solutions."

As these traffic headaches grow stronger, both local and state organizations are working on remedies. This year, the City of Austin launched an online discussion forum, while TxDOT proposed a 10-year plan to add extra lanes to I-35.