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There’s congestion on I-10: Film at 11

I’m sure you will be completely unsurprised to hear that I-10 has bad traffic congestion. You may be surprised to hear where the worst of it is, however.

Just in time for Thanksgiving travel, a new study has found that a stretch of Interstate 10 through Houston is one of the nation’s most congested highways.

The study by The Weather Channel, the Texas Transportation Institute and INRIX, a provider of traffic information, found that eastbound I-10 between T.C. Jester and San Jacinto is the fourth-busiest road in the country.

According to study highlights released today by the Weather Channel, this 4.4-mile stretch costs $43 million dollars a year in wasted gas and drivers’ time.

In 2010, this section of I-10 cost drivers 475,000 wasted hours and 951,000 wasted gallons of fuel, according to a news release about the study.

Yes, I-10 inside the Loop is the stretch cited by the study as our worst and one of the worst nationally. I don’t know how much this study factored the current construction into its calculations, but it’s certainly a factor. Even without that, it’s been getting worse, thanks in my opinion to the bottleneck at I-45. I’m willing to bet that after the service road expansion is completed we’ll still see frequent major backups.

A summary of the study is here, and all of the reports are here. I have to say that I’m not exactly clear where that “fourth-busiest” ranking comes from. If you look at the Congested Corridors Report and scroll down to Table A-2, Congestion Leaders, this bit of I-10 is ranked #26 overall. The Houston roadway ranked highest on Table A-1, Reliably Unreliable, is Loop 610 from 290 to Yale. All the data for Houston corridors is here. If you can see how any one overall ranking was determined, you’re seeing more than I am. The Houston Business Journal, which discusses a couple of other Houston corridors and which appears to have a more accurate depiction of their rankings in this study, has more.

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3 Comments

  1. Karl Ittmann says:

    This congestion flows from the earlier widening of I-10 west of the loop, which feeds a higher volume of traffic into fewer lanes. Another illustration of how pouring concrete may not solve traffic problems.

  2. mollusk says:

    I agree with the previous post; however, the single lane left exits to 45 are a bad design, and the one heading south in particular backs up for quite a ways. An extra ramp into downtown wouldn’t hurt, either.

  3. Ross says:

    Once again, proof that we live with decisions made 50 years ago when it comes to roads. I’ve found it’s often faster to get to 45 South from I-10 by going to 59 first.