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New study shows how local freeway problems hurt the economy of the entire country.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Freeway traffic in the Portland area.While recent supply chain issues have focused primarily on delays at the ports, freight movement also experiences a slowdown on many of the main land routes across the country — including Portland.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute, three-Portland area spots have the distinction of landing on ATRI's 100 Top Bottlenecks, despite the city's freeways not carrying the largest number of vehicles in the country.

The organization lists the Rose Quarter interchange of Interstate 5 at I-84, and I-5 at the Columbia River at No. 28. The Interstate Bridge is listed as No. 33. Further down the list is I-5 at I-205 South at No. 83.

"ATRI collects and processes GPS data from over 1 million trucks," said the American Transportation Research Institute in the announcement. "Using a series of key performance measures on the nation's freight transportation system, it has developed an ongoing truck bottleneck analysis that is used to quantify the impact of traffic congestion on truck-borne freight at over 300 specific locations."

A recent report from the Oregon Department of Transportation said congestion takes a "significant" toll on freight operations. On average, I-5 alone transported up to $188 million in goods each day in 2019 and was affected by persistent congestion throughout the day, according to ODOT's report.

ATRI said ODOT's report shows that traffic performance measures indicate persistent and severe congestion on Portland-area freeways, as morning and afternoon commute times continued to spread into midday.

"It can often take travelers up to four times longer to reach their destinations when traveling at peak times. ODOT also identified severe bottlenecks in each freeway corridor in the Portland area during peak periods," the organization said. "Overall, congestion on Portland-area freeways has a daily cost of $1.2 million."

Oregon Trucking Associations President and Chief Executive Officer Jana Jarvis told ATRI that the Rose Quarter section of I-5 has held its position on the Top 100 Truck Bottlenecks for several years

"We know this is a problem area and, while improvement projects have been proposed, very little progress has been made," Jarvis said.

ATRI also highlighted the Rose Quarter Improvement Project (I-5 at I-84), which has been under discussion for several years, with "Oregon's trucking industry already funding it through an incremental increase in weight-mile taxes for just as long."

"Research shows that I-5 in the Rose Quarter has traffic congestion for 12 hours each day, which then has a domino effect on I-84 and I-405," noted the announcement.

Jarvis added that keeping vehicles of all sizes moving reduces congestion and lessens greenhouse gas emissions in our urban areas," she said. "We are hopeful that more positive and productive discussions can be made to move this project forward and alleviate this bottleneck."

What about the nation's worst bottleneck? That would be in Fort Lee, New Jersey, according to ATRI.

For a full list of the worst bottlenecks in the country, click here..

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.


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