With the Thanksgiving travel rush almost here, a new national report identifying traffic bottlenecks across the country is singling out three trouble spots in the Boston area.
The American Highway Users Alliance ranks “America’s Top 50 Bottlenecks,” with the 1.9 mile stretch of I-93 between Route 1 and the Massachusetts Turnpike—the area of the O’Neill Tunnel and Zakim Bridge–named number 15 on the list of worst bottlenecks across the nation. The report, which focuses on time, gasoline, and productivity lost in gridlock, estimates that the I-93 bottleneck is responsible for a total of more than 2 million hours in annual delays, and 58 million dollars in lost time—in addition to almost 1.9 million gallons of wasted fuel.
The report names another 1.2 mile section of the Southeast Expressway, between the Braintree split and East Milton Square, as Boston’s second-worst trouble spot, coming in at number 28 on the national list of 50, with congestion there costing drivers an estimated 1 million hours in delays each year, with a lost time value of $28 million.
And rounding out the bottleneck line-up in the 50th position is a .3 portion of roadway in the area of the Mass Pike extension tunnel in South Boston, which paves the way for a loss of 200,000 hours annually, and 7 million dollars in lost value, according to the report.
The report results “are a sad reminder that bottlenecks harm the quality of life of motorists nationwide,” says Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President, Public Affairs & International Relations. “Our states desperately need stable and predictable funding to fix these problems so that highway bottlenecks no longer rob people of time, endanger driver safety or cause costly wear and tear on our vehicles.”
Mary Maguire, Director of Public/Legislative Affairs for AAA Northeast, says, “Those of us who commute in the city on a regular basis know all too well how much time we spend sitting in traffic. That’s why we advise motorists that with the Thanksgiving travel rush almost here, it pays to do some advance planning when it comes to choosing both your route and your departure time.”
The Alliance report calls on Congress to become part of the solution by increasing funding for infrastructure improvements across the country. A Chicago-area bottleneck claimed the study’s top spot, with bottlenecks in California, New York, and New Jersey costing more time and money than those in Massachusetts.