Sunday, May 27, 2018

Atlanta's 'Spaghetti Junction' tops freight bottleneck third straight year


Thursday, January 25, 2018
by LYNDON FINNEY/The Trucker Staff

For the third straight year, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction” has topped the list of the most congested freight bottlenecks in America. The interchange looks empty in this photo because it was taken during an ice storm. (Associated Press: DAVID TULLIS)
For the third straight year, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction” has topped the list of the most congested freight bottlenecks in America. The interchange looks empty in this photo because it was taken during an ice storm. (Associated Press: DAVID TULLIS)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Atlanta wins again!

No, not the Braves. After being a perennial playoff team in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2013.

No, not the Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead in the 2017 Super Bowl, losing instead to the New England Patriots.

No, not the Hawks, who find themselves mired in last place in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association with no hopes of making the playoffs.

No, the Atlanta winner is a highway interchange and while sports fans love to cheer for their teams, no one is cheering on this winner.

For the third straight year, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction,” the intersection of Interstates 285 and 85 North is the most congested freight bottleneck in the country, says the American Transportation Research Institute, which just released the results of its list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.

The 2018 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system.

The analysis, based on truck GPS data from more than 800,000 heavy duty trucks 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.

ATRI's truck GPS data is used to support the FHWA-sponsored Freight Performance Measures initiative.  The locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations.

“’When your trucks are moving, America is growing,’ is what President (Donald) Trump told the trucking industry last October," said Dennis Nash, Kenan Advantage Group CEO. “Unfortunately, as ATRI’s report shows, increasingly our trucks are not moving because of congestion, choke points and bottlenecks on an aging highway system. Addressing congestion and delays at these key interchanges and highways can make our supply chain more efficient, improve the environment by reducing fuel burn and save Americans countless hours of delay and added costs.”

According to ATRI’s list, truckers don’t have to worry about getting a speeding ticket on “Spaghetti Junction.”

Like all the top 10 congestion locations, the average speed is well below the speed limit.

The average speed on Spaghetti Junction is 37 mph, the peak average speed is 24.7 mph and the non-peak average speed is 43.5 mph.

The rest of the Top 10 includes:

  1. Fort Lee, New Jersey: I-95 at SR 4.
  2. Chicago: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  3. Atlanta: I-75 at I-285 (North)
  4. Los Angeles: SR 60 at SR 57
  5. Boston: I-95 at I-90
  6. Baltimore: I-695 at I-70
  7. Queens, New York: I-495
  8. Cincinnati: I-71 at I-75 and
  9. Louisville, Kentucky: I-65 at I-64/I-71

The Queens interchange by far had the lowest peak average speed at 17.6 mph.

“As the issue of infrastructure investment comes to the forefront on the national stage, ATRI’s report on truck bottlenecks could not come at a better time," said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. "The safe and efficient movement of freight should be a top priority in any infrastructure package, and this report identifies the areas where investment is most needed. Finding long-term, sustainable funding — like our proposed Build America Fund — to address these needs is critical and we urge Congress and the Administration to quickly move forward on a plan to tackle this growing crisis.

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please click here.

ATRI is the trucking industry's 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation's essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.

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