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AAA Cites Worst Commuter Hot Spots

February 17, 2005

WASHINGTON--Feb. 14, 2005--AAA released on Monday its list of some of the country's worst "Commuter Hot Spots." The following is not a definitive top ten list but llustrative of the worst hotspots commuters face each day in this country.Boston, MAInterstate 93 north and southBoston's central artery has been the site of one of the mostcomplex public works projects in history (called the "Big Dig")because it replaces the elevated pass through downtown. The on-going project is already reaping benefits for commuters becausea major section of the tunnel is now open for traffic. It was built in the 1950s to carry 90,000 cars daily, but it nowoverflows with more than 200,000 cars each day. The projectreplaces the six-lane elevated highway with an eight-to-ten-laneunderground expressway directly crossing the Charles River.Chicago, ILInterstate 88 at the Eisenhower ExpresswayTraffic from western suburbs comes to a halt as 34,000 cars fromI-88 merge with 43,000 cars from the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290)every day. The road goes down to a single lane for 1 1/2 blocks before opening up to multiple lanes, so what should be a 20-minute trip to the city may end up taking well over an hour.Dallas, TXInterstate 35 at Interstate 30Known as the "Mix Master" by local motorists, these two localhighways merge and struggle to carry more than 200,000 vehiclesper day from downtown through the steep hills of "The Canyon."Los Angeles, CAInterstate I-710 Freeway This freeway currently carries over 47,000 trucks per day. This is almost equivalent to 15 percent of the nation's total sea-borne cargo volume. The movement of goods to, from and through Southern California will continue to grow as the region's economy does. The existing configuration cannot handle current truck and traffic volumes and the anticipated increases will make the heavily congested conditions even worse.Los Angeles, CAUS 101/405 InterchangeLocated in the San Fernando Valley area north of Beverly Hills,this intersection handles commuters headed for downtown LosAngeles from west and north of the city. Traffic congestion lastsfor about five hours every weekday afternoon.Salt Lake City, UTInterstate 15 and the SR-92 InterchangeLakes to the west and the Wasatch Range to the east have funneledexplosive population growth into this corridor. This interchangeconnects an existing two-lane highway to the interstate in arapidly developing area; it is predicted that residents will seetraffic increase 275 percent in the next five years alone.Atlanta, GAInterstate 75 at I-85 InterchangeKnown as the "Downtown Connector" these roads intersect aboutthree miles north of downtown Atlanta. It passes through midtownand downtown Atlanta in a north/south direction. This interchangehas one of the highest volumes of highway traffic in the country,carrying more than 340,000 vehicles per day.New York, NYG.W. Bridge Exit Ramp for North Bound Major Deegan ExpresswayThis spiraling ramp is congested by trucks that must weave acrosstwo lanes to get to the upper level of the George WashingtonBridge. The result is traffic jams on both the Deegan and CrossBronx expressways. Traffic jams can last from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.and in the evening from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., adding up to six andhalf hours of congestion daily.Seattle, WASR 520 BridgeAt the heart of Seattle's traffic congestion is SR 520 - one ofPuget Sound's major arteries for transporting people and goods.One of the oldest floating bridges in the world, the SR 520Evergreen Point Bridge is at the end of its useful life and needsto be replaced for the safety of the traveling public. If thisbridge were to suffer a seismic failure, travel time betweendowntown and Seattle and Redmond would nearly double from anaverage of 33 minutes to 55 minutes.Washington, DC AreaI-495 at the I-270 InterchangeThis is one of the most congested sections of the Capital Beltwayfor Washington DC area commuters. It crosses through both Maryland and Virginia. I-270 terminates where it meets I-495 and runs northwest to Frederick, Maryland. Traffic volumes at the I-495 and I-270 interchange are extremely high in both the morning and evening commutes. Breakdowns and accidents on this span can have a major impact on the traffic flow in both Maryland and Virginia suburbs.The organization is also launching a nationwide grassroots campaign to urge Congress to pass the federal transportation funding reauthorization bill. "Failure to pass this bill will only exacerbate gridlock and put on hold important safety programs that are vital to the nation's transportation users,” said Susan Pikrallidas, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs. “AAA is asking Congress to work with laser-like focus to pass a transportation funding bill."
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