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I-680 in San Ramon Valley not among Bay Area's top 10 most congested freeways

Local hotspot drops to No. 12 in new ranking; I-80/Hwy101 in SF tops list

An annual ranking of the most congested Bay Area freeway segments was released this week, and for the first time in recent years, Interstate 680 through the San Ramon Valley was not among the top-10 list compiled by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The evening commute on I-680 northbound from Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon to Treat Boulevard in Walnut Creek ranked as the 12th most congested freeway in 2015, according to the MTC list unveiled Monday.

That ranking marked an improvement for local I-680, which came in as fifth in 2014 and 2013.

Topping the new MTC list, which reflects data collected throughout 2015, was the evening commute in San Francisco on northbound Highway 101 and eastbound Interstate 80, jumping up from its No. 4 position the year before.

The westbound I-80 commute from Hercules to San Francisco, which held the top spot often during the past 15-plus years including in 2014, dropped down to No. 2 in the new rankings. However, that area made history in 2015 by becoming the first-ever freeway segment whose congestion extended from 5:35 a.m. to 7:50 p.m., without being interrupted by a midday break, according to the MTC.

The I-80 westbound stretch was Contra Costa County's only route in the top 10.

In all, five of the top 10 routes were in Alameda County, but none was in the Tri-Valley. The nearest to the San Ramon Valley was the evening commute on northbound I-680 from Mission Boulevard to Calaveras Road, which ranked No. 7.

Seven of the top-10 congestion locations were south of the San Ramon Valley, on I-680, I-280, I-880 or Highway 101.

Nearby segments of I-580 ranked in the full top-50 list, including the westbound morning commute on I-580 from the San Joaquin County line to Hacienda Drive at 17th, the evening ride eastbound from North Livermore Avenue to Flynn Road at No. 24 and the evening eastbound drive from Eden Canyon Road in Castro Valley to Santa Rita/Tassajara roads at No. 46.

Last year, the Bay Area recorded its longest ever "congested delay," a statistic tracked by the MTC and defined as time spent in traffic moving at 35 mph or slower.

The average congested delay in the region was 3.2 minutes per commuter each weekday, up 22% from the year before and nearly 70% worse than the 1.9-minute daily average registered in 2010, according to the MTC.

"The congestion data really underscore both the robust job growth we've seen in the South Bay and San Francisco, and the persistent imbalance between where those jobs are located and where comparatively affordable housing can be found," said Dave Cortese, MTC chair and Santa Clara County supervisor.

"Routes leading into or out of Silicon Valley and San Francisco dominate the top 10, and they account for almost half of all congestion in the region," Cortese added.

The Bay Area's population rose to 7.6 million people by the end of last year, with almost one in four residents living in Santa Clara County, according to the MTC report. Bay Area employment reached an all-time high of 3.7 million in 2015, and nearly half of those jobs were in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, the commission said.

To learn more about the 2015 report, visit mtc.ca.gov.

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