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Austin ranked 4th most congested city in Texas

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With Austin's population growing daily, so are the traffic problems. That places Austin 4th when it comes to most congested cities in Texas, that's according to an annual study.

If you drive down I-35 and Mopac it may seem like there's cars everywhere at every hour. FOX 7 found the six sections that are considered the worst for drivers.

Drivers are tired of waiting, not just in traffic but waiting for change.

"We had to leave like three hours in advance just to make it to work on time," said Trina Cox, driver.

"I don't know that there's anything that can be done. We can't really make it wider or add more lanes. This is pretty much it, we're just screwed," said Jessie Bruce, driver.

The annual Traffic Scorecard by Inrix ranked Austin as the 4th most congested city in Texas.

On I-35 South it would normally take you two minutes to travel from Airport Blvd. to Martin Luther King Blvd., three minutes near Woodland Avenue and three minutes near Oltorf. During peak hours, travel times are at least triple in those areas. On the worst days, you're looking at up to 16 minutes of travel time.

The study says Oltorf and Airport see the worst traffic Thursday's at 5:00 PM, while Woodland's worst on Wednesday's at 5 p.m.

"I'd really like to see traffic fixed here. That way someone like me, who has to go into work in the evenings, would be able to get there without having to worry about traffic," said Cox.

On I-35 North from TX-71 to Martin Luther King Blvd., it's normally a five minute drive, 17 minutes during peak hours and 24 minutes on the worst day, which is also Thursday at 5 p.m.

TxDOT says they have several projects that are almost done.

"Highway 195 in the Georgetown/Williamson County area. We also have Manor Expressway right off 290 which is almost complete and about to open that up for east of I-35. We also have our Riverside/71 project which is about to be opened up as well. All of these projects again, while they may be small, they do contribute to a more regional goal," said Kelli Reyna, TxDOT.

Now to the most congested areas of Mopac; from Steck avenue to Barton Skwy, the average travel time is eight minutes. From US 290 to FM 2222 it's an average of 9 minutes. On their worst day, which is Thursday at 5:00 PM, both of those travel times are pushed to 31 minutes.

"We also have a lot of other projects that we are continuing to plan that way we can be prepared for the future. Some of those include Oak Hill Pkwy, we have 183 North and South, Mopac South," said Reyna.

Some businesses say they don't mind the traffic.

"It's always very busy. We've got a lot of out of towners down I35 and it definitely helps our business," said David Vonloewenfeldt, Jiffy Lube, vehicle inspector.

The city also looks at this in a positive light, saying it's a good sign of a strong economy.

With 110 people moving to the area every day, they estimate that's an extra 70 cars added to roads every day, which is their greatest challenge.

The Austin Transportation Department sent us a statement saying, "We are working with regional partners to give Austinites reliable, safe choices in how they travel. There's no quick fix, so we are incorporating everything from bus lanes to smart signal systems, roadway capacity improvements and a high-capacity transit system."

The study says Austin drivers waste around 219 hours per year in those six sections.

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