So-called "rush hour" traffic now lasts six or more hours on some key Portland-area highways, according to a new report from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The agency found that the hours of congestion in the Portland area grew by 13.6% from 2013 to 2015. The metro area's population grew 3% to 2.4 million, during that span, but an economy on the upswing has put far more vehicles on the road. Vehicle-hour delays were up 22.6%.
Eastbound U.S. 26 inbound saw the biggest change over the two-year span. Congestion now begins at 6:15 a.m. and continues straight through until 7:45 p.m. That route's morning commute congestion previously dissipated around 9:15 a.m., with traffic picking up again at noon.
The report also found congestion duration had increased by two hours during the evening commute on I-5 southbound into the Rose Quarter. Drivers also now encounter three hours of delay on I-205 northbound between the I-5 junction and the Abernethy Bridge, which crosses the Willamette River between West Linn and Oregon City.
A transportation package approved by the Oregon Legislature last month tees up funding to add lanes in the Rose Quarter and replace the Abernethy Bridge, both paid in part with rush-hour tolls. It also would add auxiliary lanes to Oregon 217. The transportation department plans to add auxiliary lanes to other area freeways as well.
Source: The Oregonian