Local Drivers Experiencing Traffic Headaches

By: Jordan Meserole Email
By: Jordan Meserole Email

Around 4:30 p.m. most weekdays, the cars start backing up.

The traffic signal stays green for more than a minute, but the cars barely inch forward.

And as the line grows longer, the frustration on some of the driver's faces can be seen crystal clear through the windshield.

"We used to live just down Rock Prairie road, before all of this was built south of here. You could just go down Rock Prairie road and get on Highway 6, and anytime of day and not have to worry about the congestion. And now you can see how it is," said College Station resident Linda Holleman, as she stared back of the long line of cars waiting at a red light on Rock Prairie near Highway 6.

Backed up cars have become a regular image around Bryan and College Station, as both towns continue to grow. Construction at many major intersections has added to the traffic congestion on some days, which easily stretches for many hundred yards.

But while the cars pile up in the Brazos Valley, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) said the rest of America is experiencing otherwise.

In a report released on Wednesday, the TTI said that Americans spent on average one less hour and one gallon of gas less sitting in traffic than in past years. The report showed that between wasted fuel and lost work productivity, traffic congestion cost America $87 billion in 2007 alone. On average, the study also said that on average, the typical driver spent at least 36 hours sitting in backed up traffic.

But Tim Lomax - a researcher with TTI that worked on the study - said that Bryan and College Station certainly aren't following with the trend.

"Obviously we don’t have the same kind of problem that Los Angeles or Houston does, but it is getting worse. Certainly as the student population grows, and as the number of jobs in the community grows, we see more traffic congestion every year," Lomax said.

Something local drivers agreed with.

"I was in school here back in the 50's, and I thought it was bad back then, but it is absolutely horrendous now," said College Station resident George Klett.

"We've lived over here about five or six years. And definitely things have grown over here. And it seems like we're trying to catch up with the infrastructure, and especially the roads are trying to catch up with it," said College Station resident James Garner.

But Lomax is quick to point out that while the construction in the cities is causing some of the delays, that the end result will help traffic flow.

"I think some of that traffic congestion related to the construction is frustrating. But I think if you look at how the state and city do construction around here, it’s a pretty good job. They don’t close very many lanes, they don’t take away turns you want to take...and so it’s frustrating for a little while, but when you look at the improvements that are going to be there, it’s a frustration worth living with," Lomax said.

Until the construction clears though, drivers in Bryan and College Station will most likely keep experiencing the pains of waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

"It seems like we're finally getting a handle on it. But there is still lots of congestion over here," Garner said.

To see TTI's full report on traffic congestion, click on the link below this story.

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