LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America, and the interchange at I-55 and I-40 made its first appearance in the top 100.
“The inclusion of the I-55 and I-40 intersection in this year’s list of bottlenecks underscores what a major disruption the bridge closure inflicted on our industry,” Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton said. “The I-40 bridge is a vital connector of east and west coast commerce and the three-month closure had a significant national impact on trade, trucking and costs in the supply chain.”
The I-55 at I-40 connection ranked number 42 on ATRI’s list of top 100 worst bottlenecks in the country for the year. This location had never breached the top 100, landing most recently at No. 217, with an average truck speed of 55 MPH and no congestion due to reduced traffic from COVID-19 impacts.
Before a significant crack was discovered in the Hernando de Soto Bridge leading to its immediate closure, the I-40 bridge typically handled 40,000 vehicles a day, of which 12,500 were commercial trucks. When the bridge was closed, traffic was detoured to the I-55 bridge, which carried more than 55,000 vehicles a day, including 14,000 commercial trucks. Using ATRI’s GPS data, the closure was initially estimated to cost the trucking industry $2.4 million per day initially. After advanced traffic engineering and lane shifts, the delays and costs were reduced to just under $1 million per day. The total cost of the 83-day closure was calculated to be more than $120 million to the industry.
The 2022 Top Truck Bottleneck List measures the level of truck-involved congestion at over 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million freight 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 also used to support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.
For the fourth year in a row, the intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is the No. 1 freight bottleneck in the country. The top five is rounded out by intersections in Cincinnati, Ohio; Houston and two in Atlanta. ATRI’s analysis, which used data from 2021, found traffic levels rebounded across the country as more Americans returned to work and consumer demand for goods and services continued to grow. Consequently, supply chain bottlenecks occurred throughout the country. Average rush-hour truck speeds were 38.6 MPH, down more than 11% from the previous year.
“ATRI’s bottleneck list is a roadmap for federal and state administrators responsible for prioritizing infrastructure investments throughout the country,” Newton said. “A bottleneck wastes time, fuel, money and presents its own safety concerns for all travelers in the region.”
You can download the full report from ATRI’s website, www.truckingresearch.org.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.