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Atlanta's Spaghetti Junction Tops ATRI's List of Truck Bottlenecks for 2015

November 18, 2015

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Atlanta's Tom Moreland Interchange. Public domain via Wikipedia.
Atlanta's Tom Moreland Interchange. Public domain via Wikipedia.

Atlanta's I-285 at I-85 North was the worst truck bottleneck in the country last year, according to the American Transportation Research Institute's annual congestion study.

The 2015 Congestion Impact Analysis of Freight-Significant Highway Locations assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 locations on the national highway system. It uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations, to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location.

The number one spot on the ATRI list this year is the Tom Moreland Interchange in Atlanta, Ga., a five-level stack interchange at the intersection of I-285 and I-85. Known by local commuters as "Spaghetti Junction," it is not only the confluence of two highly traveled interstates, but also provides ramps to four secondary roadways.

ATRI notes that weather impacts each year's rankings. While the Moreland Interchange is already notorious for being a regular traffic bottleneck and perennially within ATRI’s top 10 freight bottlenecks, the January 2014 Gulf Coast winter storm that brought Atlanta traffic to a near standstill for days also likely impacted its ranking.This event, along with increasing regional freight demand and 2014 employment increases in the Atlanta metro area, may have nudged this interchange to the top spot.

I-285 in Atlanta also shows up at number 12 on the list with the junction at I-75.

Another interesting fact: Four of the top 10 truck chokepoints are located in Houston, Texas.

Los Angeles, which popular culture associates with traffic congestion, doesn't apear until number 18 on the list.

The top 20 locations on the ATRI list this year are:

  1. Atlanta, Ga.: I-285 at I-85 (North)
  2. Chicago, Ill.: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  3. Fort Lee, N.J.: I-95 at SR 4
  4. Louisville, Ky.: I-65 at I-64/I-71
  5. Houston, Texas: I-610 at US 290
  6. Houston, Texas: I-10 at I-45
  7. Cincinnati, Ohio: I-71 at I-75
  8. Houston, Texas: I-45 at US 59
  9. Los Angeles, Calif.: SR 60 at SR 57
  10. Houston, Texas: I-10 at US 59
  11. Dallas, Texas: I-45 at I-30
  12. Atlanta, Ga.: I-75 at I-285 (North)
  13. St. Louis, Mo.: I-70 at I-64 (West)
  14. Seattle, Wash.: I-5 at I-90
  15. Chicago, Ill.: I-90 at I-94 (North)
  16. Austin, Texas: I-35
  17. Auburn, Wash.: SR 18 at SR 167
  18. Los Angeles, Calif.: I-710 at I-105
  19. Baton Rouge, LA: I-10 at I-110
  20. Hartford, Conn.: I-84 at I-91

"With a robust economy comes increased demand for consumer goods, the lion's share of which is carried by truck. We see that reflected in the ATRI truck bottleneck list as more trucks move through the nation's major metropolitan areas to deliver the goods," said Ed Crowell, Georgia Motor Trucking Association President and CEO. "ATRI's ranking allows states to better understand where targeted infrastructure improvements could keep the economy moving."

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, visit www.atri-online.org.

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