MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Millions of drivers use metro freeways in Minneapolis and St. Paul every day to get to and from work, run errands or just shuttle around.

In fact, MnDOT says the Interstate 35W/Interstate 94 interchange can see up to 180,000 people a day.

Stephen Zitzow is the lab manager for the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota.

“I-94 and 35W in Minneapolis is basically the worst all the time, very reliably congested,” Zitzow said. “You’ve got a lot of people that are trying to get in and out of downtown, and you also have people that are crossing back and forth between different parts of the metro.”

Zitzow says the areas with the highest number of drivers generally have the most congestion.

After the I-94/I-35W interchange, the hotspots have generally similar traffic numbers.

According to MnDOT’s 2013 Metropolitan Freeway System Congestion Report, other hotspots include:

* I-35E north of St. Paul
* I-35W between I-94 and Hwy 62
* I-494 between Hwy 169 and I-35W
* Hwy 169 north of I-394
* I-494 north of I-394
* I-694 at I-35W
* Hwy 62 between Hwy 169 and I-35W

“Highway 62 is seeing maybe 40,000 or 50,000 people each way, but because it’s a two-lane road, you get more congestion,” Zitzow said.

Transportation studies put the Twin Cities in the middle of the pack when it comes to traffic.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is the 16th largest metropolitan area in the U.S, but ranks between 16th and 44th in congestion, depending on the survey.

Heather Brown

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