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Study: Congestion on Twin Cities freeways, highways is getting increasingly worse

Frustrating. Frustrating. Frustrating.

Congestion on interstates and highways running through the Twin Cities metro area is trending worse. Perhaps you've noticed? 

While construction projects like the massive Interstate 94/Crosstown project will help alleviate some congestion, the overall flow of traffic in the metro is slowing, according to a study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation

Freeway congestion is defined by MnDOT as traffic flowing at speeds less than or equal to 45 mph. 

"The Twin Cities freeway system had an increase in the percentage of miles of freeway system congested, from 23.2% in 2017 to 24.2% in 2018," the MnDOT study results show.

In 1993, the numbers were nearly half of what they are now, and the latest five-year trend suggests that upwards of 35 percent of freeway miles will be congested by 2030. 

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You can see in the congestion maps below that the morning rush (5-10 a.m.) isn't quite as bad as the afternoon rush (2-7 p.m.). Where you see red is where the worst congestion usually occurs. 

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MnDOT notes that finding a fix for the negative trend is difficult in urban areas, but there are was to mitigate it by relieving bottlenecks through improved geometric designs, adding auxiliary lanes and lengthening entrance/exit ramps, among other options. 

The study was conducted in October 2018 because it's the month that signals the end of most summer road construction projects and weather conditions are generally favorable, meaning there aren't blizzards roaring through to bring extreme traffic delays. 

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