By Justin Prtichard, February 13, 2014
In this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 photo, traffic on the eastbound Hollywood
Freeway, U.S. Highway 101, approaches the four-level interchange in
downtown Los Angeles. A newly released report by the California
Department of Transportation (CalTrans) ranks Interstate 5 in Los
Angeles County as the most congested highway in the state, with other
county freeways such as the 60, I-10, I-405 and 101 high on the list. In
fact, Los Angeles County had the four most congested freeways (and six
of the Top 10). The only counties that come close were Orange and
Alameda, with two each.
Those who like to argue — or brag — about the worst commute in this traffic-tangled state have a new measure of their misery.
is the most congested stretch of California freeway? It has more
reconstructive surgery than a Hollywood has-been, and if you make it
through the madness, you can head to the border — Mexico and Canada.
The dubious honor goes to ... Interstate 5 in Los Angeles County.
In 2012 alone, vehicles spent a cumulative 6.6 million extra hours on that road due to heavy traffic — 753 years.
The numbers come from data analyzed by the California Department
of Transportation, which calculates time wasted in “heavy congestion”
using sensors under the pavement that track vehicle speed. Caltrans did
the math and then ranked freeways on a county level. The agency collects
the data to identify which freeways are most in need of traffic relief.
was the second year in a row that “the 5,” as Angelenos call it, topped
Caltrans’ list of most congested freeways. The reigning champion had
been the stretch of Interstate 405 that cuts through the western and
southern part of L.A. County.
Indeed, the county owned six of the top 10 slots. The first
outside of L.A, County, coming in fifth, was Interstate 5 in Orange
County. Rounding out the list were the 405 through Orange and two in
Several stretches of the 5 in L.A. County are
being widened to create carpool lanes, and it is no secret why. Since
the 5 opened more than 50 years ago, the county has added about 4
million people — simply too many cars for the capacity.
There are many ways to measure traffic, and while this one ranking is
unlikely to settle the worst-commute-ever argument, it does present a
The 6.6 million “vehicle hours of delay” on I-5 is Caltrans’
measure of how much more time cars, trucks and buses spend inching along
at less than 35 mph, considered “heavy congestion,” in the parlance of
traffic planners. A car traveling any faster does not count toward those
6.6 million hours — though a driver going 36 may not have much reason
The statistics were released this month as part of the agency’s first “Mile Marker”
performance report (http://bit.ly/LVaoq0). The Department of
Transportation has been criticized as not being transparent about its
operations, and the report was an effort to present useful information
in a concise, accessible way, said Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco.