McDonough moves up 31 spots in national bottlenecks ranking

Aerial photo of I-75 in McDonough (Doug Turnbull photo)

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has shared their 2021 rankings for freight bottlenecks across the country. The group uses GPS data from commercial drivers to identify and rank traffic trouble spots. They evaluate 300 freight-significant highway locations when developing their annual rankings.

In the 2020 ranking, I-75 in McDonough ranked #62. Now, the corridor jumped thirty-one spots to 31st. Although the big jump occurred, the data actually found a small bump in the peak hour average speed. Between 2019 and 2020, the peak hour speed improved 0.1 percent at 49.3 mph.

The research group also found the non-peak average speed to be 53.1 mph with an average speed of 52 mph. The average speed drops beginning at 12 pm before returning to non-peak hour speeds by 8 pm.

By comparison, two Georgia locations remained in the top ten from last year to now. I-285 at I-85 is the third-worst bottleneck in the country followed by I-20 at I-285 (West) in fourth. I-75 at I-285 in Cobb County dropped from fifth-worst one year ago to 16th now.

Nationwide, the average peak hour speed measured 43 mph at the top 100 bottlenecks. This metric improved 33.9% from 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel patterns were disrupted. Commuters working from home and off the freeway created speed gains for truck drivers.

Georgia bottlenecks

Seven Georgia locations made the top 100 this year. They include the following:

  • I-285 at I-85 aka Spaghetti Junction – 3rd (second last year)
  • I-20 at I-285 (West) – 4th (seventh in 2019)
  • I-75 at I-285 aka Cobb Cloverleaf – 16th (fifth)
  • I-20 at I-285 (East) – 25th (24th)
  • I-75 in McDonough – 31st (62nd)
  • I-20 at I-75/85 in downtown Atlanta – 52nd (48th)
  • I-75 at I-85 in midtown – 68th (71st)

Georgia is tied for the fourth-most bottlenecks in the top 100 alongside Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Texas leads the nation with 12 spots, followed by California and Washington with eight apiece. Altogether, 29 states have at least one spot on the list.

Featured image shows aerial photo of I-75 in McDonough. Credit to Doug Turnbull / WSB Traffic.