In what will be a surprise to no one, the two-mile strip of Interstate 80 from Ashby to the Bay Bridge connector has been listed as the 16th worst in the nation according to a study by the American Highway Users Alliance (The only surprise might be that it’s not ranked higher!). Also within the top fifty is the San Francisco end of the bridge which was actually ranked higher at number twelve. “It’s a nightmare from 2 o’clock till 8 o’clock. Everyday. Both Directions.” noted a Oakland resident who was interviewed in the included NBC video segment.
In the extensive report titled “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015”, it outlines the top 50 bottlenecks on our U.S. roads and highlights the benefits of improving them which include reduced emissions. Bottlenecks were ranked based on backups in both directions over the entire day. Data was collected from the GPS of passenger and commercial vehicles was provided by HERE & the American Transportation Research Institute.
The study goes on to quantify the impact as nearly a million gallons per year in wasted fuel and 1.9 million lost hours of productivity which they translate into a net loss of $50 million annually. The study also points out the over 30,000 lives and 2.5 million injuries annually that these bottlenecks contribute to. Alleviating both of these I-80 bottlenecks has a potential of reducing the annual emissions by over 30 million pounds annually according to their data. The equations used to calculate these numbers are provided in the appendices of the report.
The American Highway Users Alliance describes itself as a nonprofit advocacy organization that represents the interests of the transportation community including the trucking industry and charter buses. This report identifies its lobbying efforts to help advance the $300 Billion highway bill which passed back in November. Various components of the I-80 SMART Corridor project are currently underway in the area that may provide some relief.
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The $79 million project will implement a network of integrated electronic signs, ramp meters and other technology between the Carquinez Bridge and the Bay Bridge with the goal to enhance motorist safety, improve travel time reliability and reduce congestion. Most of the cost of the project is being funded by Proposition 1B, approved by Californians in 2006. As many as 270,000 vehicles use the I-80 corridor every day.
The entire 64 page report can be viewed below: