By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –It’s not your imagination: Traffic really is worse in the Twin Cities.

For the second straight year, congestion is up on metro freeways.

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A MnDOT survey released Tuesday shows that in 2015 traffic tie-ups were up 2.3 percent.

Back in 2013, MNDOT said the percentage of congested freeways was at almost 20 percent. As of 2015, they were up to 23.4 percent.

MnDOT defines congestion as traffic moving slower than 45 mph.

While MnDOT says construction projects do contribute to slowdowns, transportation officials insist there is a payoff.

Major multiyear projects in the west metro on Interstate 494 and Highway 100 will end this November.

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“That will help with a lot of the traffic flow within that whole region,” said MnDOT freeway operations engineer Brian Kary. “Projects like [Highway] 169 are more of a bridge replacement project that can kind of set the stage for future expansion.”

MnDOT says the east metro should see congestion relief from the roll out of the MnPass system on sections of Interstate 35E.

MnDOT also recommends that drivers download the 511 app for the latest traffic updates.

“The 511 app if you get that will show you congestion, lane closure information and crash information,” Kary said.

MnDOT says the data for its surveys is taken during the month of October when most construction projects are wrapping up and road conditions are generally good.

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According to MnDOT, there are three areas that for years have remained the most congested in the metro. They are Interstate 94 between the downtowns, Interstate 35W south of downtown Minneapolis, and Interstate 494 at the Bloomington strip.

Esme Murphy