Traffic Nightmare

Downtown Austin's stretch of I-35 named the most congested roadway in Texas

Downtown stretch of I-35 named most congested roadway in Texas

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
Ahead of a meeting for the Texas Senate Transportation Committee, a stretch of I-35 in Austin is ranked as the most congested in the state. Courtesy photo

If you’re a regular commuter in Austin, you might want to sit down for this news. (However, you’re probably already sitting because you’re still stuck in traffic on I-35.)

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has released its annual report of the “Top 100 Congested Roadways” in the state, and the main stretch I-35 in Austin takes the top spot. 

Specifically, the segment between US-183 and SH-71 is the most congested roadway in the state, according to data through August 31, 2013. While not a surprise to many local drivers, the I-35 segment was ranked fourth just a few years ago. Tarrant and Harris counties have previously boasted the most congested roadways in the state, with I-35W in Fort Worth and I-45 in Houston formerly ranked as No. 1.

The rankings will be a focus for lawmakers who meet this week to discuss ways to alleviate traffic in the state. As with previous years, the rankings also provide insight into the ongoing plans and strategies TxDOT has to address the traffic headaches. So far, the only plan specific to the I-35 corridor is to continue the HERO Patrol Service to quickly clear accidents between Buda and Round Rock. The stretch of roadway has an annual congestion cost of $172 million. 

Mopac is, of course, Travis County’s second most congested roadway, however it ranked No. 27 on the statewide list. Don’t be surprised to see it rising in next year's rankings, thanks to the major reconstruction project.

The report did include some good news for Austin commuters. Not all Austin roadways saw increased congestion this year. North Lamar Boulevard between West Fifth Street and West 45th Street has fallen to No. 71 on the list (it ranked No. 24 in 2010).