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TxDOT expects 2x amount of traffic along SH 21 ahead of holidays

Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 26, 2023

CALDWELL, Texas — December is one of the biggest travel seasons of the year, and major highways in the Brazos Valley are expected to see more traffic.

Long-time Caldwell resident Mollie Marsh says this increase is normal on SH 21 year-round even outside of peak travel times.

She typically travels the roadway to go to the airport or College Station, leaving at least 10 to 15 minutes early.

But she says she still faces traffic around 4 p.m., during Texas A&M football games and holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“You can really tell when you’re waiting to cross the highway and the traffic, you know, from one direction or the other direction,” Marsh said.

“But there has been a slight increase, and it’s only going to get worse.”

The highway serves about 20,000 vehicles per day on average, according to TxDOT Public Information Officer Bob Colwell.

But he expects traffic to almost double ahead of New Year’s Eve.

“Unfortunately, we do have some backups during this time," Colwell said.

"Thanksgiving is usually our most travelled holiday then over Christmas and New Year’s is our second busiest holiday,” he said.

AAA projected 115.2 million people across the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more until Jan. 2, making it the highest the organization has tracked since 2000.

Colwell says safety concerns are also heightened since more crashes and fatalities occur during the peak period of travel, starting in November.

TxDOT is encouraging travelers to plan ahead and watch for possible inclement weather.

He advises drivers to reduce speed, wear seat belts, leave early and drive sober.

These are tips that Marsh plans to follow this year as she travels.

“My mom always trained me to go right to go left and I use that more often when traffic is going on — just to be on the safe side,” Marsh said.

To monitor changing road and traffic conditions, TxDOT encourages drivers to call its travel information line at 1-800-452-9292 or view it online.