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These Are Some Of The Worst Highways In Texas

Jen R
Flickr Creative Commons

If you drive around North Texas, you’re often stuck in traffic. Go around the state and it’s even worse.

Where are the worst of the worst traffic spots?

Interstate 35 in Austin is probably the worst of the worst. I-35 in the capital city is considered the most congested road in Texas. Specifically, the stretch that goes by UT-Austin and downtown.

That’s according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which crunched a bunch of traffic data and issued a list of the 100 most congested roadways in the state.

How bad is it in North Texas?

Interstate 35 doesn’t do well in Dallas, either. It’s the fifth most congested chunk of highway in the state. Specifically, we’re talking about Stemmons Freeway -- from State Highway 183 in Irving to Interstate 30 in downtown Dallas.

Elsewhere in Dallas County, LBJ Freeway is bad news. It’s No. 7 on the list -- specifically from Interstate 35 to Central Expressway.

The sixth worst congested highway in Texas is in Tarrant County – it’s Interstate 35W from U.S. 287 in downtown Fort Worth up to 28th Street.

No. 9 is also in Tarrant County – and also a chunk of Interstate 35W.

For the record, nine of the 25 most congested roads are in Dallas County, while two are in Tarrant.

How about the suburbs?

Well, it’s a bit better to the north of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Denton County takes the No. 27 spot – with, you guessed it, Interstate 35 – from State Highway 121 down to LBJ Freeway back in Dallas County.

Collin County makes an appearance at No. 44 – that’s U.S. Highway 75 from U.S. 380 to the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

How do Texas roads compare to the rest of the country?

A group called the American Highway Users Alliance examined traffic bottlenecks – federal officials say recurring bottlenecks account for 40 percent of road delays. That’s more than accidents, weather and construction. 

That stretch of Interstate 35 in Austin that we mentioned earlier in this story? It is considered the 10th worst bottleneck in the country -- worse than several spots in Los Angeles and New York.

And, in Dallas, Woodall Rodgers Freeway ranks as the 27th worst bottleneck in the U.S.

So is there any hope for improving Texas roads?

In November, Texas voters approved Proposition 7  -- that will provide potentially at least $2.5 billion a year for roads. The money comes from some sales taxes, but it can’t be used for toll projects.

There are more and more people coming to Texas – and those folks are driving – but you can’t build roads fast enough to keep up with the population boom.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute says the number of registered vehicles in Texas has skyrocketed by 172 percent over the past 40 years while highway space has grown by only 19 percent.

Some say you can improve roads without a ton of money. The American Highway Users Alliance says design standards can help. They include fixing curves so they aren’t so tight and repaving and restriping surfaces.

Learn more

Here’s a list of the 100 most congested roadways in Texas.

Read the American Highway Users Alliance bottleneck report

Photo: Jen R/Flickr

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.