Even with children studying remotely and most people working from home, it’s still possible to hit I-35 in the middle of the afternoon and run into congestion.
So it’s no wonder that I-35, especially the stretch from 290 North to 71 / Ben White Boulevard that runs through downtown, has been dubbed the busiest street in the entire state of Texas. That’s one point up from 2019 when it was named the state’s second busiest congested road.
In its annual report on Texas’ busiest roads, released Dec. 1, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute analyzed 1,800 stretches of road covering nearly 10,000 miles in areas from the wilderness of West Texas to densely populated neighborhoods in major cities . We then looked at congestion in terms of the number of additional hours of travel time (also known as “delays”) for commuters, how much fuel is wasted in traffic and how costly these delays actually are to the economy.
It’s also important to note that this report reflects data from 2019, so any pandemic-induced pendulum changes won’t show up until next year, which the TAMU Transportation Institute expects to be very different.
According to TAMU, more than 173,000 vehicles drive on I-35 in the city center every day, which means an average of 56 minutes driving time during rush hour.
Drivers who use the freeway between midnight and 5 a.m. are more likely to reach top speeds of 100 km / h. Around 6 a.m., cruising speeds begin to drop, with the lowest speeds being between 3:30 PM and 6:15 PM when the average is between 27 and 34 mph. All of these congestion incurs annual costs of $ 288,349,730, including lost work and freight delays.
Interestingly, those traveling north on I-35 do a little better than those traveling south. There are times, especially in the early afternoon, when commuters heading north can reach average speeds of 10 miles per hour, which is faster than heading south.
Although Austin’s I-35 route was number one on the congested list, Houston had six in the top 10 – the most in any city – while Dallas had three.
In total, the Austin-Round Rock area has 15 streets in the top 100. Combined transport resulted in local commuters and truckers wasting nearly 31 million gallons of fuel last year.
Other local roads among the 100 most congested roads in Texas:
- I-35 between Ben White Boulevard and Slaughter Lane (12th)
- Mopac between 183 and Capital of Texas Highway (20.)
- I-35 between RM 1431 and Louis Henna Boulevard (35.)
- US 290/71 between RM 1826 and Mopac (43.)
- I-35 between slaughter and SH 45 (45.)
- South Lamar Boulevard between Cesar Chavez Street and 290 (55.)
- Cesar Chavez Street between Mopac and I-35 (61.)
- South capital of the Texas Highway between RM 2244 and Ben White (67.)
- 183 between 620 and Mopac (69.)
- I-35 between Parmer Lane and 290 (70th)
- 183 between I-35 and Ben White (78th)
- north Capital of the Texas Highway between 183 and 2222 (86.)
- North Lamar boulevard between Cesar Chavez and 45th Street (97.)
- Capital of the Texas Highway between 2222 and 2224 (98.)