SAN ANTONIO- You think interstates like I-35 are busy now? Now the Texas Department of Transportation says more is wheels will be soon rolling down those highways as the state becomes a bigger hub for products going in and out of the country. The reason? The Panama Canal is in the midst of expansion that will eventually bring more cargo through Texas ports.
The state is still assessing the impact that the expansion of the Panama Canal will actually have, but one thing is pretty firm. Traffic looks to be picking up the next couple of years along main thoroughfares like here along I-35.
Experts say the Panama Canal, now 96 years old, opened before the Titanic was even on the drawing board and has reached it's limits. Projected to be finished by the end of 2014, expansion will allow much bigger ships to carry a lot more goods. Those extra goods likely will be rolling down interstates like 35- already handling more than 200-thousand vehicles a day between San antonio and Dallas.
Drivers like Edward Garza are already concerned what that will look like. "You're looking at 2-3 lanes of traffic that's going to get bogged down which increases the length of time that people have to commute."
Driver Elizabeth Nelson told us, "it's already scary seeing them on the highway right now, but if there's more that's even scarier."
Even some truckers like Juan Aguilar are a bit nervous of how everyone will fit. "We have to put up with them, they have to put up with us. But when they're not paying attention to the traffic around them it makes it dangerous for us."
With more products and goods coming in to Texas ports TXDOT says more will be hitting our highways from those ports. Including interstates 35, 37, 45 and 10. TXDOT will hear from an advisory group of leaders in the trucking, manufacturing and agricultural industries to prepare for the expected new volume of cargo on the roads.
Mark Cross with TXDOT told us, "what we want to do is make sure our transportation system here on the ground is prepared and capable to handle the increase we expect in the goods coming in and going out as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal."
That advisory group will be meeting monthly for the next six months. After that time, it will have recommendations for what the state's gameplan should be.