Six of the Nations Seven Worst Traffic Bottlenecks Are in L.A. Area

Friday, November 27, 2015
Interstate 405 in Los Angeles area

If the 30 worst highway bottlenecks in the country were fixed, the nation would save $39 billion in lost time and 830 million gallons of gasoline while preventing 211,000 accidents and stopping 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years, according to a new study by the American Highway Users Alliance. 

Much of that savings would accrue to the Los Angeles area, where six of the top seven bottlenecks make driving hell, and California in general, which occupies 11 of the top 30 spots and 14 of the top 50.

Chicago has the worst chokepoint, on the Kennedy Expressway (I-90) between the Circle Interchange (I-290) and Edens junction (I-94). That 12-mile stretch cost drivers 16.9 million hours of time, which translated into $418 million in lost production in 2014.

But the #2 stretch of highway near Seal Beach in Orange County gets a lot more bang for the mileage. The 4.1 miles on I-405 between I-605 and State Road 22 experience delays costing motorists 7.1 million hours and 1.8 million gallons of gas.

Unlike a lot of other highway studies, this one looked at continuous 24-hour use rather than zero in on those peak periods of gridlock that most vex motorists. But, the report points out, “there are many stretches of highway where even minor delays of a few minutes per vehicle add up across the many vehicles traveling those stretches.”

Rank General Location              
2. L.A. I-405 between the 22 and 605 in Seal Beach        
3. L.A. 10 between Santa Fe Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard      
4. L.A. I-405 between Venice and Wilshire boulevards      
5. L.A. U.S. 101 between Franklin Avenue and Glendale Boulevard    
6. L.A. I-110 between Exposition Boulevard and Stadium Way      
7. L.A. U.S. 101 between Sepulveda and Laurel Canyon boulevards    
11. L.A. Interchange between the I-5 and I-110 between the U.S. 101 and North Mission Road 
12. S.F. I-80 between U.S. 101 and Bay Bridge        
13. L.A. I-10 between La Brea Avenue and National Boulevard      
14. L.A. I-5 between South Eastern and Euclid avenues      
16. Oakland I-80 between I-580 and Ashby Avenue        
29. L.A. I-405 between Burbank and Ventura boulevards      
30. L.A. U.S. 101 between the I-110 and Alameda Street      
40. L.A. I-10 between I-5 and U.S. 101          

            –Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Study: One-Third of Nation's 30 Worst Traffic Bottlenecks Are in Los Angeles Area (by Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times)

Unclogging America’s Arteries: Prescriptions for Healthier Highways (American Highway Users Alliance) (pdf)

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