|ATRI's Top 10 bottlenecks, 2018|
|1||Atlanta, GA: I-285 at I-85 (North)|
|2||Fort Lee, NJ: I-95 at SR 4|
|3||Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94|
|4||Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)|
|5||Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57|
|6||Boston, MA: I-95 at I-90|
|7||Baltimore, MD: I-695 at I-70|
|8||Queens, NY: I-495|
|9||Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75|
|10||Louisville, KY: I-65 at I-64/I-71|
|Source: American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)|
Atlanta's notorious "Spaghetti Junction" interchange was named the nation's most congested truck bottleneck in 2018, the third consecutive year it has won the dubious honor, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry's nonprofit research group, said today.
The interchange, which sits at the confluence of northbound Interstate 85 and the eastbound side of I-285—the latter known as metro Atlanta's Perimeter—is a five-level stack configuration that is a daily nightmare for truckers and motorists. It is the only major highway connecting Atlanta's Perimeter, itself a major truck corridor, with I-85 heading toward South Carolina. Most afternoons, especially during the latter part of the workweek, passenger and commercial vehicles can be seen lining up on the Perimeter, sometimes for a mile or more, to climb aboard the path that leads to I-85 heading north.
The list ranks the country's top 100 truck bottlenecks by assessing the levels of truck-oriented congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on GPS data from more than 800,000 heavy-duty trucks, determines the severity of each bottleneck by average truck speeds. In the 2018 list's top five locations, truck speeds declined by an average of 6 percent, an adverse trend in a world where, increasingly, truck hauls are composed of e-commerce shipments with very strict delivery commitments. Slowing truck speeds also reduce driver productivity, and cost drivers money, because they have to adhere to strict hours-of-service regulations now being monitored electronically through electronic logging devices (ELDs), which are mandatory for virtually all vehicles built after the year 2000.
The second-worst bottleneck was in Fort Lee, N.J., at I-95 at State Route 4 approaching the George Washington Bridge heading into New York. That was followed by Chicago's Byrne Interchange at I-290 at I-90/I-94; another metro Atlanta nightmare at Interstates 75 and 285; and Los Angeles at State Routes 60 and 47.
The Atlanta interchange at I-75 northbound and 285 heading west rose from 10th place on last year's list. Conversely, the interchange of Interstates 64, 65, and 71 in Louisville, Ky., fell from 4th to 10th place, a reflection of road improvements at or near the interchange that have led to increased truck speeds.