The Most Congested Roads in Massachusetts

Massachusetts boasts numerous attractions, including historical sites, cultural events, and natural beauty. Nevertheless, the state grapples with considerable traffic issues such as congestion, delays, and accidents. According to a 2019 report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the state has reached a critical “tipping point” in terms of traffic challenges, with conditions worsening.

The report highlighted the most congested roads in the state based on the severity and duration of traffic conditions. Here are some of Massachusetts’ most problematic roads and the reasons behind their challenges.

I-93 Southbound at 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m., this interstate experiences its highest traffic volume as commuters travel from the Mystic Valley Parkway to the Fellsway in Medford. During peak rush hour, the average time to cover this 2.8-mile stretch is about 10 minutes, compared to less than 3 minutes in free-flowing traffic.

The congestion arises because it serves as a major route for individuals residing north of Boston and commuting to the city or suburbs. Bottlenecks at the Zakim Bridge and the Leverett Connector, where the road merges with other highways, further exacerbate the issue.

Route 2 Eastbound at 8 a.m.

This route faces its peak traffic at 8 a.m. as drivers approach Alewife, a transit station and a junction for several roads. Traveling this 1.3-mile segment during the morning commute takes nearly 7 minutes, compared to less than 2 minutes during off-hours. The congestion is attributed to its popularity as an alternative to I-95/128 for individuals living west of Boston and working in Cambridge or the city. Limited capacity and frequent signals at Alewife, where the road becomes a surface street, contribute to the challenges.

Southeast Expressway Northbound at 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m., this expressway experiences its peak traffic as drivers travel from the Braintree Split to Neponset Circle. Covering this 4.2-mile section during the morning rush takes nearly 16 minutes, compared to just over 4 minutes in free-flowing traffic. The road serves as the primary artery for individuals residing south of Boston and commuting to the city or suburbs. Narrow lanes, a lack of shoulders, and frequent exits and entrances add to the congestion.

Route 2 Eastbound at 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m., this route witnesses heavy traffic as drivers head to Alewife. The 1.3-mile segment takes nearly 7 minutes during the morning commute, compared to less than 2 minutes during off-hours. Similar to the 8 a.m. segment, congestion arises due to its popularity as an alternative to I-95/128 for individuals living west of Boston and working in Cambridge or the city. Limited capacity and frequent signals at Alewife contribute to the challenges.

I-93 Southbound at 8 a.m.

At 8 a.m., this interstate experiences high traffic as commuters travel from the Mystic Valley Parkway to the Fellsway in Medford. The 2.8-mile stretch takes nearly 10 minutes during peak rush hour, compared to less than 3 minutes in free-flowing traffic.

Congestion persists for the same reasons as the 7 a.m. segment, serving as a major route for individuals living north of Boston and working in the city or suburbs. Bottlenecks at the Zakim Bridge and the Leverett Connector compound the issue.

Conclusion

These are just a few of Massachusetts’ most congested roads, with others identified in the MassDOT report, including Route 1A southbound in Revere, the Sagamore Bridge, and Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge. The report proposes solutions to alleviate congestion, such as replacing old signals, constructing more housing near workplaces, and investing in public transportation.

However, these solutions may require time and funding, and their effectiveness in solving the state’s traffic problems remains uncertain. Until then, drivers may continue to grapple with the frustration and stress of navigating Massachusetts’ most congested roads.

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