Commute Cities

These are the highways to hell. For the second straight year, The Daily Beast ranks the roads with the worst rush hour gridlock. How does your commute rank?

Reed Saxon / AP Photo,Reed Saxon

Reed Saxon / AP Photo

#1, Riverside Freeway/CA-91 Eastbound, Los Angeles

Worst corridor: Costa Mesa Freeway exit through McKinley St. exit
Length of worst corridor: 20.7 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 183%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 57 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.73 minutes

Commuter Buzz: It's an "absolute nightmare," said Dijana Vandenheuvel, who uses the freeway to make deliveries. "I always try to avoid the 91, no matter what. The new lane [that was recently added] may help a little bit, but I personally don't think it will solve the problem because it's so congested."

Deborah Booker, The Honolulu Advertiser / AP Photo

#2, Lunalilo Freeway/I-1 Eastbound, Honolulu

Worst corridor: HI-92 exit through S Vineyard Blvd/Ward Ave.
Length of worst corridor: 3.9 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 244%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 21 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 4.08 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "We've got too many cars at this one location coming onto the freeway trying to go west, and we've got too many cars at the same time at the same location trying to get off going in the west direction," said Department of Transportation director Brennon Morioka last year, describing the freeway area around the Lunalilo. "So you get all this weaving and people merging left and right, and that's the reason why people slow down. And that's how you create that bottleneck. ... Because people slow down when they're merging."

Eric Risberg / AP Photo

#3, California Delta Highway/CA-4 Westbound, San Francisco

Worst corridor: Hillcrest Ave. through Somersville Rd.
Length of worst corridor: 3 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 318%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 11 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 3.76 minutes

Commuter Buzz: Hillcrest Ave. may eventually get improved public train access, and $500 million will go toward widening CA-4—but work won't be completed until 2014. "We've been very successful in applying those dollars to Highway 4," said Susan Miller, director of projects for Contra Costa Transportation Authority . "We've leveraged a lot of state and federal funds."

J. David Ake / AP Photo

#4, I-95 Southbound, Washington, D.C.

Worst corridor: I-395 through Russell Rd./Exit 148
Length of worst corridor: 23.9 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 129%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 52 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.18 minutes

Commuter Buzz: The commute from Prince William County into D.C. is supposed to take around 30 minutes, however "with all the construction going on, you can throw those times out the window," said AAA spokesman John Townsend last summer. Updated estimates added at least another half-hour traveling time.

Mike Derer / AP Photo

#5, Bruckner/Cross Bronx Expressways (I-95 Southbound), New York

Worst corridor: Conner St/Exit 13 through Hudson Terrace
Length of worst corridor: 11.3 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 231%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 43 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 3.76 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "Long portions of the expressway have no shoulder, so even minor accidents can snarl traffic for miles," wrote Sam Dolnick of The New York Times. "The lighting is poor, and exit and entrance ramps are too short. Most of the road sits inside a trench, leaving commuters to stare at concrete walls, longing for the distraction of scenery. After too long the trench can feel like a crowded coffin."

Harry Cabluck / AP Photo

#6, I-35 Southbound, Austin-Round Rock

Worst corridor: US-183/Exit 239-240 through Woodland Ave.
Length of worst corridor: 6.7 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 226%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 36 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 3.32 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "It's time we look to try out-of-the-box, innovative solutions to address our congestion short-term and long-term," said Bob Daigh, former district engineer for Austin's Department of Transportation and member of the committee that authored a state-commission report on Interstate 35, released earlier this year.

Harry Cabluck / AP Photo

#7, Connecticut Turnpike (1-95 Northbound), Bridgeport

Worst corridor: Field Point Rd. through Mill Plain Rd./Exit 21
Length of worst corridor: 22.2 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 44 minutes
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 104%
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 1.97 minutes

Commuter Buzz: Stamford-Bridgeport "is a lot more congested than Hartford and New Haven," Tim Lomax told the Connecticut Post Online in July of 2009. Lomax co-authored a study of traffic congestion across 90 cities in which the Bridgeport area ranked among the top 10.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

#8, I-405 Southbound, Seattle

Worst corridor: NE 14th Street/Exit 14 through SE Coal Creek Parkway/Exit 10
Length of worst corridor: 4.5 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 183%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 13 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.81 minutes

Commuter Buzz: According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, "Nearly half of respondents to a recent Washington state Department of Transportation survey rated I-405 traffic congestion as very serious; about half also said they regularly change their plans or go out of their way to avoid I-405."

David McNew / Getty Images

#9, Bayshore Freeway (US-101 Southbound), San Jose

Worst corridor: Fair Oaks Ave. through De La Cruz Blvd.
Length of worst corridor: 4.2 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 172%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 11 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.56 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "The interchange causes a lot of problems, and I've even seen people, while just driving it myself, jump from one lane to another just to get on the highway, and that's very, very dangerous," Scott Vandenberg, who works in the area, told the San Jose Mercury News last August.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

#10, Kennedy/Dan Ryan Expressways (I-90/I-94 Eastbound), Chicago

Worst corridor: I-294/Tri State Tollway through Ruble St./Exit 52B
Length of worst corridor: 15.9 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 195%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 49 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 3.08 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "There's nothing more frustrating than dealing with traffic," said resident Mario Reed, in response to the suggestion of congestion pricing on Chicago expressways. "Whatever that cost would be, I would be happy to pay. It would make the quality of my life much better."

Greg Wahl-Stephens / AP Photo

#11, I-5 Northbound, Portland

Worst corridor: Corbett Ave./Exit 298 through N. Tomahawk Island Dr./Exit 308
Length of worst corridor: 10.1 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 174%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 30 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.98 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "It's not just passenger vehicles, but big trucks," said Sarah Moon, who commutes from Portland to Vancouver via I-5, explaining how traffic grew more congested from 2009 to 2010 due to the reinvigoration of the economy.

Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

#12, CA-78 Eastbound, San Diego

Worst corridor: Rancho Santa Fe Rd. through Mission Rd.
Length of worst corridor: 4.2 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 150%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 10 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.34 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "It's not surprising it's a hot spot in the county," said San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond last year following the revelation the route was backed up during rush hour 243 days in 2009. "In the afternoons, I avoid it."

Jim Mone / AP Photo

#13, I-494 Eastbound, Minneapolis

Worst corridor: Prairie Center Dr./Exit 1 through Penn Ave./Exit 6
Length of worst corridor: 5.7 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 159%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 14 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.50 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "You know that in the morning, whether it's good weather or bad, you are going to be sitting out there," said Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

#14, Southwest/Eastex Freeways (US-59 Northbound), Houston


Worst corridor: Buffalo Speedway through I-45
Length of worst corridor: 4.8 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 202%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 14 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.97 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "There's a lot of congestion that we see between 59 and Bissonnet," Travis Younkin, director of Capital Projects for the Upper Kirby Management District, said last month. "There's a lot of Greenway Plaza traffic, H-E-B and Kroger do a lot of business there, and a lot of cars use Buffalo to get from the residential components in West U. to the freeway and farther north."

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

#15, Southeast Expressway (I-93 Northbound), Boston

Worst corridor: Randolph Ave./Exit 5 through Columbia Rd./Exit 15
Length of worst corridor: 10.4 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 179%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 29 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.81 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "Traffic volumes on I-93 and Route 24 continue to rise on a year-to-year basis as more people move to the area and use the major roadways," said Richard Nangle, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "In addition, traffic increases each year in the fall as schools open and families return from summer vacations and resume their daily commute."

Steve Helber / AP Photo

#16, Hampton Roads Beltway (I-64 Westbound), Virginia Beach

Worst corridor: Tidewater Dr./Exit 277 through Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel
Length of worst corridor: 6.4 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 151%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 16 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.49 minutes

Commuter Buzz: Alleviating congestion at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel interchange won't come cheap. According to a report from transportation analysis firm TRIP, redevelopment will cost $2 billion. "The report lays out a blueprint for the type of transportation and investment the state will need to look at in the long term to continue to maintain quality of life here in Virginia," said TRIP's Frank Moretti.

Gail Burton / AP Photo

#17, Baltimore Beltway Inner Loop (I-695 Eastbound), Baltimore

Worst corridor: Reisterstown Rd./Exit 20 through Loch Raven Blvd/Exit 29
Length of worst corridor: 10.2 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 96%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 19 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 1.91 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "This project, because of the way they pinched (traffic) to go through the bridge, caused that traffic to go from two lanes to one lane…," Thomas McLamore, an area resident told the Catonville Times regarding a bridge replacement project that has congested the Beltway. "That traffic has nowhere to go but just to simply back up."

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

#18, Schuylkill Expressway (I-76 Westbound), Philadelphia

Worst corridor: Oregon Ave./Passyunk Ave./Exit 347 through Belmont Ave/Exit 338
Length of worst corridor: 9.5 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 130%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 23 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.44 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "If I stayed in that left lane every night, I would lose my mind," Robert Scott told The Philadelphia Daily News last month, referring to the wait time in the lane that leads to I-76 West.

Donna McWilliam / AP Photo

#19, North Freeway (I-35W Northbound), Dallas

Worst corridor: Rosedale St./Exit 49B through Western Center Blvd./Exit 58
Length of worst corridor: 9.5 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 157%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 24 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 2.54 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "With the heavy traffic we routinely experience on I-35, especially on the weekends, it has been trying on motorists. There have been lengthy backups even before football season," David Meuser, spokesman for the Oklahoma Transportation Department, told The Oklahoman last September in reference to football fans driving to Dallas.

Juan Guerra / AP Photo

#20, Ventura Freeway (US-101 Northbound), Oxnard

Worst corridor: Camarillo Springs Rd. through Las Posas Rd.
Length of worst corridor: 5.2 miles
Rush hour travel time tax on worst corridor: 62%
Longest rush hour travel time on worst corridor 8 minutes
Time per mile during longest rush hour travel period 1.59 minutes

Commuter Buzz: "There are other things that are on the table - gang crime is huge - but traffic safety hasn't had the momentum it needs to have when you consider that there are 40,000 to 45,000 deaths in the U.S. every year," Oxnard Police Commander Marty Meyer, who heads the city's traffic division, told the Ventura County Star last February. "Who is making that a priority?"

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