North Jersey interchange worst truck bottleneck in U.S.

A major interchange near the approach to the George Washington Bridge in northern New Jersey is the nation’s top trucking bottleneck for the second straight year, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, tops the latest list of 100 freight bottlenecks that ATRI tracks each year. The intersection of I-285 at I-85 on the northern outskirts of Atlanta was the number two freight congestion spot for the second straight year as well.

Top 20 truck bottlenecks (2019 data). Source: ATRI

The same locations that made the top 10 bottlenecks in 2019 were slightly reshuffled among the top 10 in 2020. The biggest changes among the top 10: Nashville, Tennessee’s I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East) moved up five spots to third; and SR 60 at SR 57 in Los Angeles moved down five spots to ninth.

ATRI’s analysis also found the number of locations experiencing “significant” congestion (average daily speeds of 45 mph or less) increased 92% over the past five years, outpacing 10% traffic congestion growth in the same time period.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) President Chris Spear commented that ATA has been “beating the drum” about the lack of government attention to worsening road infrastructure in the U.S.

“Thanks to ATRI’s research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere,” Spear said. “This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high, and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation’s mounting infrastructure crisis.”

Source: ATRI

ATRI’s Top 100 list was released at the same time the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $1 billion available in FY2020 for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) federal grant program for surface transportation projects.  

“BUILD grants will upgrade infrastructure across America, making our transportation systems safer and more efficient,” commented DOT Secretary Elaine Chao in announcing the latest funding round.

While the top freight congestion locations in the U.S. tend to be close to urban areas, DOT intends to award 50% of BUILD grants to projects in rural areas, which is consistent with DOT’s ROUTES initiative. DOT noted that the maximum award for BUILD grants in this round is $25 million, with no more than $100 million to be awarded to a single state.

ATRI’s Top 100 freight bottleneck list can be downloaded here.