Seattle traffic congestion is fourth-worst in the nation

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING

KING5.com

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 10 at 7:21 PM

When you hit the road around Seattle you're likely hitting the brakes a lot more than you did just a year ago.

This time last year traffic congestion in Seattle was the 12th worst. Now it's near the top, at number four.

To get to why Seattle traffic is so bad you have to get behind the wheel with someone who spends much of his workday, not working.

Mike the plumber can clear just about any clog, unless you're talking traffic.

"It takes longer and longer to get places," says Mike Blake, "We can spend some days driving around more than we are working."

A new study by Tom Tom Traffic Data finds Seattle traffic congestion has gone from bad to worse. And if that's not bad enough, it's getting worse faster than anywhere else in North America.

The study found that for every hour spent on the road, 35 minutes of it is spent in traffic slowdowns.

So why is traffic going in the wrong direction? Mike the plumber has his theories.

"The whole time construction's going on, it's worse than ever. It takes longer to get through 99 now, it takes longer to get through I-5 through downtown Seattle," says Blake.

Not to mention the 520 toll taking its toll on traffic. For plumbers like Blake, it all adds up to getting less work done. "We like to be on jobs that last all day so we don't have to be in traffic."

Despite all the red drivers are seeing, there might be a silver lining to all of this.

"When the economy was really good, traffic was at its worst," recalls Blake.

Is Seattle on a high speed train to traffic hell? Maybe. But that may actually be a good thing. And for Mike the plumber-- all part of a days work.

Los Angeles ranked the worst in the study followed by Vancouver BC and Miami.

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