Many highways across the U.S. contend for the unenviable title of being the most detested by their daily commuters.
Sometimes there is nothing worse than reaching the crest of a hill on a freeway, with the city's shimmering silhouette appearing in the distance, when a relentless tide of brake lights paints a different picture.
Gunther Volvo Cars Daytona Beach ran a survey of 3,000 drivers (via QuestionPro)to determine, once and for all, America’s most loathed interstates/freeways/highways. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top three positions all went to California freeways.
1. California, US-101
A Golden Gridlock… The Golden State's golden child of gridlock, US-101 takes the crown, with parts in San Francisco and LA making drivers question their life choices. Many drivers report that they think of it as a highway doing an impression of a parking lot, especially during peak hours. With major tourist hubs along the way, the traffic pace can decelerate to speeds slower than an average person's walking pace, particularly noticeable during high-density travel times.
2. California, I-5
Snail’s Stretch… Silver goes to this extensive stretch - I-5, especially through LA, could give snails a run for their money. From San Diego to Oregon, it’s the backbone of the West Coast, but sometimes feels more like a spinal tap with its endless construction zones and “rush hour” that seems to last all day. More than mere congestion, the I-5 in LA represents a unique intersection of diverse populations, relentless urbanization, and infrastructural growing pains - all on one gridlocked stretch.
3. California, I-405 (San Diego Freeway)
Latte Lockup… And rounding up the top 3 was another California gem, the I-405 (San Diego Freeway). Some say it is like Los Angeleans’ way of saying, “You thought the 101 was bad? Hold my latte.” Navigating the infamous Sepulveda Pass is akin to conquering a mountain... if that mountain was made of cars. The I-405, with its unique blend of infrastructural, environmental, and cultural factors, occupies a special spot in the hall of fame of American traffic jams, encapsulating the very essence of Los Angeles' complex relationship with the automobile.
4. Pennsylvania, I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike)
Historic Halt… In fourth, PA throws its hat into the ring with the I-76. It's a mix of historic charm and modern-day migraines. Imagine a dance floor, but instead of people, it’s cars – shimmying, twirling, and occasionally bumping into each other. Philly and Pittsburgh drivers, especially, know the I-76 tango all too well. Adding to the complexity, the turnpike is peppered with toll plazas that, despite modern EZ-Pass systems, become chokepoints, especially during holiday exoduses. And the weather - rain, snow or shine, each brings its own set of chaos.
5. Colorado, I-70
Rocky Road… Claiming fifth, Colorado’s I-70 is not just your everyday road trip – it's an epic saga. This isn't just about the stop-and-go; it's about battling Mother Nature herself as you weave through the Rockies. With the Eisenhower Tunnel acting as the gateway to winter wonder (or blunder), travelers often find themselves playing a game of "Will it close today?" due to snowstorms. Roadway improvements and seasonal restrictions for non-equipped vehicles attempt to mitigate these issues, but they introduce their own delays, with travelers often facing mandatory detours or chain-ups during winter storms.
In 54th place overall is South Carolina's I-85. As local motorists know, I-85, particularly the stretch near Greenville, can be prone to traffic congestion, especially during rush hours.
The major interstate serves as a key transportation artery in South Carolina, facilitating local transit, interstate travel, and the movement of goods.
The substantial volume of vehicles, including daily commuters and commercial traffic, contributes to consistent congestion in the area, particularly during peak travel times.
Incidents like accidents, construction zones, or adverse weather conditions can further intensify traffic issues, causing extended travel times for motorists.
Additionally, routine road maintenance and infrastructure improvements, necessary for safety and functionality, can result in lane closures or detours, adding to the complexity of travel on this route.
And the 83rd most loathed route in America is South Carolina's I-26. This route, especially around Charleston and Columbia, often experiences congestion, highlighting its role as a major transportation corridor in South Carolina.
The critical interstate serves as a primary route for local commuters, interstate travelers, and the movement of goods.
The substantial volume of vehicles, including daily commuters and commercial traffic, contributes to consistent congestion, especially during rush hours and peak travel times.