ATRI reveals worst truck bottlenecks in the U.S.

February 25, 2021

Tyson Fisher


Where are the worst truck bottlenecks in the nation? The American Transportation Research Institute has that answer with its annual Top 100 Truck Bottlenecks list.

Using GPS data from more than 1 million freight trucks, ATRI has identified what it describes as “granular chokepoints” on the United States truck transportation system. Data collected this year showed many improvements. However, that is likely due to the pandemic’s effect on traffic patterns nationwide.

Analysis of the data reveals the following top 10 truck bottlenecks:

  1. Fort Lee, N.J.: I-95 at SR 4.
  2. Cincinnati: I-71 at I-75.
  3. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (north).
  4. Atlanta: I-20 at I-285 (west).
  5. Houston: I-45 at I-69/U.S. 59.
  6. Chicago: I-290 at I-90/I-94.
  7. Chattanooga, Tenn.: I-75 at I-24.
  8. St. Louis: I-64/I-55 at I-44.
  9. Rye, N.Y.: I-95 at I-287.
  10. San Bernardino: I-10 at I-15.

Although there are some familiar spots on this year’s list, there are a few new entries in the top 10 compared to last year. Last year’s list included:

  1. Fort Lee, N.J.: I-95 at SR 4.
  2. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (north).
  3. Nashville, Tenn.: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (east).
  4. Houston: I-45 at I-69/U.S. 59.
  5. Atlanta: I-75 at I-285 (north).
  6. Chicago: I-290 at I-90/I-94.
  7. Atlanta: I-20 at I-285 (west).
  8. Cincinnati: I-71 at I-75.
  9. Los Angeles: SR 60 at SR 57.
  10. Los Angeles: I-710 at I-105.

This marks the third consecutive year the Fort Lee intersection grabbed the number one spot on the truck bottleneck list.

Before that, “Spaghetti Junction” in Atlanta held the title for three consecutive years as well.

Texas takes the lead for the state with the most bottlenecks on the list with 12 total. California and Washington state both have eight, whereas Connecticut, Georgia and Pennsylvania each have seven. A total of 29 states have at least one bottleneck on the list.

Last year, the average peak hour truck speed at the bottlenecks was 43 mph, a 34% increase from the previous year. However, that is likely the result of greatly reduced traffic nationwide as stay-at-home orders forced many to work at home or not at all. Furthermore, the lack of traffic sped up many construction projects, reducing slowdown at construction zones.

According to ATRI, data analysis conducted in March found average truck speeds at some of the worst locations improved by 100% or more. Truck activity had increased last February due to panic buying, immediately followed by lower traffic as businesses began to shut down. However, truck activity began to resume to normal levels around April and May.

Among the top 100 truck bottlenecks, the slowest average speed was in Chicago at the interchange of Interstate 290 and Interstate 90/94 at 28.8 mph. The fastest was 53.4 mph at Interstate 85 and Interstate 485 (west) in Charlotte, N.C., No. 82 on the list. The lowest peak average speed was on Interstate 495 in Queens, N.Y., at 20.6 mph. Interstate 65 and Interstate 80 in Gary, Ind., (No. 48) had the highest peak average speed of 52.3 mph.

To view the complete list, click here. LL


J.J. Keller
Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.