RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As millions of us transitioned from working at home to back in the office following the pandemic, traffic on the highways got worse. 

Here in the Triangle, in some cases, the commutes are longer than they were pre-pandemic.  

They call it rush hour, but nobody’s rushing.

Sometimes the rush-hour traffic moves so slowly, you get the feeling you can walk there and get where you are going faster on foot.

Commuter Saher Jaber estimates he loses “a good two to two-and-half hours a day” on congested roads.

Going nowhere fast isn’t just a cliché in the Triangle — It’s a fact.

 Since the end of the pandemic, we’ve added an extra 12 minutes to our daily 29 minute commute due to traffic congestion.

 An analysis by the car app CoPilot Search of commuting data compiled from TomTom GPS and the U.S. Census Bureau shows in the past year in the Triangle, those extra minutes added to our commute means an additional 53 hours a year sitting on the highway not getting to our destinations.  

“I normally travel from the country outside of Durham so if I have to come in for an 8 o’clock job or a 5 o’clock job, I definitely have to leave 2 hours earlier and it’s only a 1 hour drive,” said Tatyana Edgerton.

“I’ve been living in Raleigh for the last 22 years and it’s gotten a lot worse over the last 5 years,” said Edgerton.

A number of drivers we spoke to shared similar feelings, but CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted facts, so he went to the source — the man who watches over our daily commutes.

That’s Triangle Traffic Network’s Jason Rogers.

“In the last 5 years it has increased,” said Rogers. “I don’t want to assign a percentage — but it’s been a constant slowdown.”

That slowdown is very noticeable ever since the post-pandemic return to work began.

“You’ve seen our major roadways under the limit every day without question,” he said.

It’s not just the major roadways.

“5 o’clock on the back roads — it’s not even the highway — it’s everywhere,” said Edgerton.

Blame it on the popularity of this area.

“It’s just constantly growing and the infrastructure can’t keep up with it,” said Rogers.

It turns out, 95 percent of commuters in this area use private transportation, according to Census data. And all those cars have to go somewhere.

“As they add more lanes — the city continues to grow,” said commuter Allen Statten. “They’re trying to keep up with the growth as well.”

One of the toughest commutes is the Interstate 40 corridor leading in and out of the rapidly growing Johnston County.

“I actually live in Johnston County but I work in Raleigh,” said commuter Brian Neal. “The traffic is rough coming in and rough going out, it’s changed a lot.”

“Tons of people are moving to Garner/Clayton,” said Rogers. “Yes, they are widening it — but with the influx of cars, it’s not going to make that much of a difference.”

Garner, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Durham — take your pick. The one common theme — congestion on the roadways. 

“You’re going to sit in those traffic jams on those major arteries,” said Rogers.

Triangle Traffic Network’s Jason Rogers. (CBS 17)

There is a limit to the amount of roads we can construct and to lessen the impact of the commute.

One possibility, companies could adjust start and end times to work around the rush hour.

Also, going back to remote working could help too.

Neal said he has one word for Raleigh rush hour traffic, “crazy!”

As the radio traffic guru, Rogers tries to add some humor and to reduce the stress of those stuck. 

“I try and talk them through it … give them some comfort that this is the norm,” he said.

With one of the highest growth rates in the state, this area will continue to see traffic get worse and worse in the near future.  

“Triangle Traffic is not going to go away,” said Rogers.

Take that from the expert.