The Shelter Rock Road exit on the Long Island Expressway is among the 100 most congested stretches of highway in the United States, according to a study released on Wednesday by the American Transportation Research Institute in Arlington, Va.
The North Hills exit ranked as the 90th most congested highway location, down two slots from its position at No. 88 last year.
The study, conducted since 2002, monitors 250 locations across the country “identified as freight significant,” said Rebecca Brewster, the president of The American Transportation Research Institute.
GPS data from 600,000 vehicles allows the organization to evaluate the highway locations on two criteria: the pace of trucks relative to speed limit and the volume of trucks impacted, Brewster said.
The average speed at the Shelter Rock Road exit is 44 miles per hour but at peak traffic hours it dips to 36 miles per hour, according to the study. At rush hour, between 5 and 6 p.m., the average speed plummets to just above 20 miles per hour.
Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA New York, told Newsday the Shelter Rock Road traffic jams might be partly due to one of the area’s largest employers, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.
Brewster said the information found in the study is a “great tool” for truckers and everyday drivers alike.
“It’s not just a truck issue because everyone is moving slowly there,” she said. “Where there is difference is that car drivers have additional flexibility in choosing to avoid the road at certain times of day.”
The study determined the most congested stretch of highway in the country is the intersection of the I-285 and I-85 in Atlanta, Georgia. The I-278 at Belt Parkway in Brooklyn made the list at #37, as it’s average speed during peak hours clocks in at 31 miles per hour.
Traffic congestion on U.S. highways added more than $49.6 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2014, according to a separate study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute.
“There’s no way the trucking industry can take on the costs of that alone,” Brewster said. “Those costs will show up in the cost of toothpaste.”