McDonough ranks among country’s freight bottlenecks

Photo of big green sign on I-75 northbound at Walt Stephens Road bridge ( photo/Brian Hadden)
I-75 in Henry County is a major link for freight traffic between the port of Savannah, Florida markets, and metro Atlanta. ( photo/ Brian Hadden)

In the 2020 listing of America’s top 100 truck bottlenecks, I-75 in McDonough was ranked sixty-second (62nd) among the nation’s trouble spots. Three major system-to-system interchanges in Atlanta were in the top ten.

Since 2002, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has collected and processed truck GPS data in support of numerous U.S. DOT freight mobility initiatives. Using truck GPS data from over one million trucks, ATRI develops and monitors a series of key performance measures on the nation’s freight transportation system. Among many GPS analyses, ATRI now converts its truck GPS dataset into an ongoing analysis that is used to quantify the impact of traffic congestion on truck-borne freight at 300 specific locations.

In McDonough, the research group found the average interstate speed for tractor-trailers was 51.6 mph with a peak average speed of 49.3 mph and non-peak average speed of 52.4 mph. They also found that peak hour speeds decreased 2.7% from 2018 to 2019.

By comparison, I-285 at I-85 (Spaghetti Junction), the top Georgia location on the list and second-most congested area in the country, has a peak average speed of 22.4 mph and non-peak speeds of 40.2 mph. Not far behind, I-75 at I-285 (Cobb Cloverleaf) was fifth and I-20 at I-285 (west) was seventh.

Three other Atlanta-area interchanges also made the list:

  • #24 – I-20 at I-285 (east)
  • #48 – I-20 at I-75/85 (downtown)
  • #71 – I-75 at I-85 (midtown)

The most significant freight investment programmed in Georgia will be the addition of two truck only lanes along I-75 northbound from Macon to McDonough; however, that project is expected to end around Bethlehem Road. Open houses displaying the project concept to the general public and providing an opportunity for comments are anticipated in fall 2020.

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Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of Moving Henry Forward Community News. The website provides local news coverage in Henry County, Georgia.