Austin stretch of I-35 ranks No. 1 for truck traffic in Texas, No. 3 overall

(C) Provided by mySA

Rush-hour traffic on I-35 North in 2017.  Interstate 35 in Austin is among the most congested roadways in Texas, and ranks No.

1 for truck traffic. In other news, water is wet.

According to the most recent Texas A&M Transportation Institute report on Texas’ 100 Most Congested Road Sections, the portion of I-35 that begins at US 290 North and runs south to Ben White Boulevard in South Austin is the third most congested segment in the state. That same stretch was the big winner — or loser, really — for trucks. Overall, the Austin-Round Rock area contains 10 of the 100 most congested roads in Texas, with three of the other top 50 simply being other stretches of I-35.

(C) Provided by mySA

Sky view of I-35 in Austin. 

“Traffic congestion isn’t just a big-city problem, and that problem is almost sure to get worse as our population surges by almost 20 million in the next 25 years,” David Schrank, TTI’s lead researcher on the study, said. “With that kind of growth, Texas needs to use every possible means to keep people and goods moving. We need to add capacity, operate the system efficiently, and give people options for how to travel.”

Load Error That notion of adding capacity is a polarizing one, particularly among urban planners and transportation professionals.

While simple logic would dictate that more road equals less traffic, the opposite has been proven to be true: congestion always rises to the occasion through a concept called “induced demand.” In Austin, the issue is particularly fraught, as the £4.9 billion I-35 Capital Express project aims to do just that. Spending billions to keep traffic only to make it worse has led to the rise of organizations like Rethink35, whose supporters note that I-35 expansion also has a negative climate impact and has historical racial implications.

Notably, I-35 expansion could be on the ballot when Celia Israel and Kirk Watson face off in the Austin mayoral runoff this month.

According to Rethink35’s rundown of candidates’ positions on the matter, Israel opposes I-35 expansion and supports studying alternative measures.

Watson supports expansion and does not think the city needs to look into other solutions to traffic.

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