NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new study says the Tri-State area has two of the nation’s worst traffic bottlenecks.
The American Highway Users Alliance says the very worst are in Chicago and Los Angeles, but Nos. 8 and 9 on the list are the Lincoln Tunnel and Interstate 95 just east of the George Washington Bridge.
At the Lincoln Tunnel, the study found drivers waste a cumulative 3.4 million hours a year and average backups hit 2.6 miles.
“A lot of of the infrastructure in New York is very old and is, frankly, obsolete — particularly your bridges and tunnels, many of which were built in the ’30s and ’40s,” Greg Cohen, president of the American Highway Users Alliance, told 1010 WINS. “It’s not just wasting time, but it’s wasting a lot of gallons of fuel, a lot of carbon dioxide.”
“It is getting worse over time,” Cohen told CBS2’s Kris Van Cleave of bottlenecks in general. “Certainly between 1982 and today, there’s a lot of studies that show the traffic that once was just in L.A. is now worse than what L.A. was like back then in dozens of cities around the country.”
Also making the list of the top 50 are the Pulaski Skyway, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Long Island Expressway near I-278 and the Van Wyck Expressway south of the Kew Gardens Interchange.
While all the bottlenecks suffer from too much volume, the causes for the problems vary, as do the solutions. Researchers recommend, where possible, expanding the roads as well as looking at improving mass transit and using smart technology to make the crowded corridors more efficient, and thus more able to handle the extra vehicles.
According to Greg Cohen of the American Highway Users Alliance, one bottleneck that dropped off the list over the last ten years was the Woodrow Wilson bridge outside of Washington D.C. The bridge was rebuilt and traffic improved, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
“While ongoing construction projects at the Brooklyn Bridge and Van Wyck create delays, the completion of those projects may help to ease congestion,” Robert Sinclair Jr. with AAA Northeast said in a statement. “But the other bottlenecks in our area, with heavy traffic volumes and no hope of increasing capacity, will be with us for years to come.”
Sinclair said the study highlights the need for Congress to pass pending legislation.
“It will be the first, long-term highway bill in 10 years and so we’re hoping that this information will serve as a wake-up call to them to get a long-term bill done to address the crumbling infrastructure,” he told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.
For the full study, click here.