America’s worst truck bottleneck is in Atlanta, study says

Nothing brings Atlantans together quite like complaining about traffic — especially with all the trucks on the roads.

A recent study found that the congestion isn’t all in our heads.

» Metro Atlanta's 10 most consistently awful traffic hotspots

The metro area's intersection of I-85 and I-285 (known as Spaghetti Junction) was recently ranked the worst truck bottleneck in the country by the American Transportation Research Institute, a nonprofit group associated with the American Trucking Associations federation.

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ATRI analysts examined 250 “freight-significant” highway areas using truck position and speed data, which was gathered from the wireless onboard communications systems often used by the trucking industry.

Analysts then compiled a “total freight congestion value” for each area based on average truck speed, hourly congestion and other relevant metrics.

They found that Atlanta’s Spaghetti Junction had an average speed of 38 miles per hour, but around 5-6 p.m., speeds averaged only 15-20 miles per hour.

Starting 10 p.m. Wednesday, one lane of Spaghetti Junction will be closed for repairs. FILE / AJC

Credit: Jason Getz / AJC

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Credit: Jason Getz / AJC

» More about the ATRI study and its methodology

Atlanta's I-75 and I-285 intersection also made the cut for ATRI's 100 worst bottlenecks at No. 9, up three spots from 2016.

And the I-20 and I-285 intersection ranked No. 14, up 12 spots from 2016.

Here are the five worst freight bottlenecks in America:

  1. Atlanta, Ga.: I-285 at I-85 (North) GA
  2. Fort Lee, N.J.: I-95 at SR 4
  3. Chicago, Ill.: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  4. Louisville, Ky.: I-65 at I-64/I-71
  5. Cincinnati, Ohio: I-71 at I-75