Rush hour traffic starting to pick up across Kansas City metro

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rush hour traffic is slowly starting to ramp up to pre-pandemic levels. As more businesses open up and gatherings resume, traffic is tightening up around the metro.

“I’ve definitely seen a lot more cars on the road and just general traffic along the highways is where I see it most,” said Nathan Kilkenny, a delivery worker for Toblers Flowers.

Kilkenny said the traffic has become increasingly heavier the past few weeks. He believes it’s a sign Kansas City is opening back up.

“There’s definitely a period immediately after the pandemic set in where you started to see a sharp decline of people on the roads, which was really nice for us,” Kilkenny said.

“For a time in the pandemic, I was running Postmates, so I was definitely driving a lot then, and it was definitely not a lot of people out and about,” Emmett Pellant said. “Definitely noticed an increase in traffic.”

Our FOX4 drone view captured bumper to bumper traffic on eastbound Interstate 70 near Stadium Drive this week.

Depending on who you ask, it’s not one of their favorite things they’re welcoming back.

“It came back times 20. I definitely don’t like the traffic. There wasn’t even a gas pump that I could pull up to. I was waiting for like 10 minutes,” Alicia Calhoun said.

Data from the Missouri Department of Transportation shows traffic is picking up, especially during rush hour times on I-70.

Pre-pandemic, there were roughly 2,800 cars an hour on that stretch of interstate near the sports complex. During the height of the lockdown, that number dropped to 2,000.

At one point, morning peak hour traffic was 20% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Regionwide, there is still about 15% fewer vehicles during the morning rush hour and 5% fewer vehicles during the evening rush hour.

But it appears things are quickly changing.

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