Twelve Worst Freeways in America — and Where I-70 Ranks

We recently published Ben Smith's post about  the hellishness of I-70, particularly during ski season.

Turns out folks far beyond Colorado feel much the same way.

The folks at Thrillist recently published their picks for "The Worst Damned Freeways in America," and it's no surprise that I-70 near Denver made the cut — and landed close to the top of its roster of twelve selections.

Does it deserve this ranking? Should it be lower, or perhaps even higher? Check out the dozen choices below, featuring photos and excerpts from Thrillist text. To see the complete post, with plenty of additional information and a description of the freeway-rating methodology, click here.

12. I-95 and I-195, Providence, RI

Worst aspect: While the road conditions are better than average, you've got a pretty decent chance of dying on a Rhode Island interstate. But the real problem is the wildly inconsistent traffic patterns: every morning you've gotta get up 30 minutes early just to go sit in traffic... except on the days when, inexplicably, there is none, and you could've pressed that blessed snooze button a few more times.

11. I-76/Schuylkill Expressway, Philadelphia, PA

Worst aspect: The insane duration of bottlenecks. Six hours out of every day are filled with crawling, mind-numbing traffic.

10. I-376/Parkway East & West, Pittsburgh, PA

Worst aspect: Calling the Parkway a parking lot isn't even a joke. When you take into account how slow the traffic can be and how much it fluctuates, Pittsburgh clocks in at fifth worst in the country. And then there's this: the Greenfield Bridge has been crumbling for decades, falling onto the Parkway. The solution was to build another bridge — underneath it — purely to catch the debris. If you believe in Christmas miracles, it's scheduled for implosion starting December 26th, 2015.

9. I-880, San Jose, CA

Worst aspect: Rough roads and... weirdness (see below) are both stressful, and in SJ, you never really know what to expect — the traffic fluctuation here is the second worst in the entire country.

8. I-80, San Francisco, CA

Worst aspect: It's an all-around shitshow in San Fran, with inconsistent traffic on interstates that suck time out of your day, beat you up with bumps, and potentially kill you.

7. I-35, Austin, TX

Worst aspect: All you need to know about the horrors of I-35 as it goes through Austin is this: it’s so bad that America’s fastest highway — the SH 130 toll road, with speed limits up to 85mph — was built purely so people could fly past Austin’s traffic nightmare as quickly as possible.

6. I-635/LBJ, Dallas, TX

Worst aspect: Fort Worth has traffic issues that will make grown men cry, but between the LBJ, Stemmons, and Central Expressway, Dallas is losing nearly $1 billion a year just from people sitting around doing nothing.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts