3 Atlanta roads make list of worst bottlenecks in the country

ATLANTA — Atlanta has some of the most overcrowded roads, according to a new study.

You don't need a scientific study to know traffic gets bad on the downtown connector, but turns out the stretch of road where I-75 and I-85 merge through downtown is ranked as one of the 30 worst bottlenecks in the nation by the American Highway Users Alliance.

The study says drivers sit in traffic there for more than 1.2 million hours a year.

“Those 30 choke points force drivers to lose 91 million hours at an estimated value of $31 billion,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Fox said.

The downtown connector isn't the only Atlanta road on the list. Spaghetti Junction ranks as the No. 1 worst freight bottleneck in the entire country. I-285 at Georgia 400 is ranked one of the 50 worst bottlenecks.

The study authors emphasize the problems are not unfixable. As an example, they point to the Wilson Bridge in Washington D.C. Until the bridge was built, that section of highway was one of the biggest bottlenecks on the entire East Coast.

Fox says the start of a solution could be close in Congress, where House and Senate negotiators are hammering out a deal on the first long-term highway funding bill in more than a decade.

“The reality is that hand-wringing isn’t going to solve this problem. The reality is we can’t use yesterday’s funding models to solve today’s challenges,” Fox said.

Congress has a Dec. 4 deadline for an agreement on the highway bill. Fox says it would be an early Christmas present for drivers.