Metro Atlanta intersections back at the top of worst bottlenecks in the country

ATLANTA — The list of the country’s worst bottlenecks is out, and some metro Atlanta intersections are right near the top again.

There is some good news, however. A few years ago, Atlanta had the No. 1 spot, and then No. 2. But not anymore.

The Atlanta metro has the third and fourth worst bottlenecks in the entire country and seven of the top 100.

No. 4 on the list is Interstate 285 at Interstate 20 on the westside of Atlanta. It jumped up five spots this year.

“It seems like the same old Atlanta now,” said trucker Herschel Evans.

Evans told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that he’s been driving trucks on metro interstates for decades.

He’s not surprised overall truck speeds increased through the pandemic as commuters stayed home.

“We saw average truck speeds go up in 2020, but still not up to the posted speed limits in these locations at 55,” said Rebecca Brewster with the American Transportation Research Institute.

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Data from GPS tracking of more than 1 million truckers across the country went into the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual list of worst bottlenecks.

Dropping from No. 2 to No. 3 in the country is Interstate-285 and Interstate 85 in DeKalb County, or Spaghetti Junction, where the average speed is still only around 34 miles per hour during rush hour.

“When you’ve got that much volume going through, anything that slows it down is going to have a ripple effect,” Evans said.

And when the trucks get stuck in traffic, so do the cars -- especially at Spaghetti Junction.

“I’m curious to see why it dropped a little bit because I have not seen a drop in truck traffic at all on the northeast side of town,” said Triple Team Traffic’s Mark Arum.

Arum said he also isn’t surprised to see No. 4 on the list: I-20 and I-285.

“That’s one of our main arteries. You’ve got heavily industrialized, lots of warehouses out there being built now,” Evans said.

“Every morning, we see truck traffic on both I-20 and I-285. No shock to me or anyone that uses that westside perimeter interchange that this is one of the worst bottlenecks in the country,” Arum said.

Another interchange along I-285 that was in the top 5 was the Cobb Cloverleaf. This year, that interchange dropped all the way down to No. 16.

The No. 1 bottleneck in the country was the George Washington bridge connecting New York and New Jersey, gaining the title of worst bottleneck in the country for a third year in a row.