Watch Now

Austin’s I-35 has worst traffic for truckers in Texas

New study ranks most congested roadways across Lone Star State

Interstate 35 in downtown Austin is the most gridlocked roadway in the Lone Star State for motorists. (Photo: TTI)

Interstate 35 in downtown Austin is the most gridlocked roadway in the Lone Star State for truck drivers, according to an annual report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

Austin’s stretch of I-35 from U.S. 290 to Texas 71 overtook Houston’s Eastex Freeway (I-69) for the top spot, according to TTI’s annual Texas’ Most Congested Roadways report.

“Unfortunately, for drivers in central Texas, congestion on I-35 in Austin is now the worst choke point in Texas,” said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg in a release.

Truck drivers were delayed more than 26 million hours and wasted 44 million gallons of fuel that cost them $1.5 billion during 2019, according to the study.

In its report, released Tuesday, TTI analyzed 1,800 sections of roadway covering almost 10,000 miles in areas ranging from rural West Texas to major cities. 

Though Austin’s stretch of I-35 was first on the most congested list, Houston had six in the top 10, the most of any city, while Dallas had two.

Overall, Houston had 36 out of 100 of the most congested roadways in Texas. The Dallas/Fort Worth area accounted for 33, Austin had 15 and San Antonio 11.

Laredo’s Bob Bullock Loop (also known as Loop 20) was the No. 9 most truck-congested roadway in the state. The loop is the stretch of road running from the World Trade Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border to I-35.

In 2019, the Bob Bullock Loop was the No. 3 most truck-congested roadway in Texas.

The roads were ranked based on annual delay per mile (person-hours) and the annual cost to truck drivers/carriers: 

  1. Austin I-35: 98,804 person-hours and a cost of $45 million.
  2. Houston Southwest Freeway (I-69): 63,125, $11 million.
  3. Houston West Loop (I-610): 56,717, $11 million.
  4. Houston I-10/U.S. 90: 55,240, $5 million.
  5. Houston Gulf Freeway/I-45: 53,089, $24 million.
  6. Houston North Loop West Freeway/I-45: 50,645, $18 million.
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth Stemmons Freeway/I-35/U.S. 77: 45,958, $14 million.
  8. Dallas/Fort Worth North Freeway/I-35/U.S. 287: 43,826, $8 million.
  9. Laredo Bob Bullock Loop: 41,975, $6 million.
  10.  Houston Southwest Freeway/I-69: 40,643, $12 million.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

Railroad blockade ends in Mexico after 60 days of protest

Italian firm to build $150M shipyard in Yucatan, Mexico

Avocados, tomatoes dominate Texas ports

Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]