The One Minute Geographer: Where is the Most Complex Highway Interchange in the United States?

Jim Fonseca
7 min readMay 27, 2024
Detail of the Woodbridge NJ interchange where the Garden State Parkway meets NJ 440. Image from Google Maps

I’ll tell you right at the beginning: I’m not going to attempt to answer that question in the title of this post

— I’ll let you decide after I show you the short list of nominees I’ve compiled from searches on the web. It’s a pretty subjective question when you consider what to count: number of roads connected, mileage of loops, number of on- and off-ramps, traffic volume, congestion, stacking (how many roads cross over each other), etc. You might be aware of some equally complex interchanges in your nearby metropolis.

Before we begin though, here’s an exercise for you, if you are a hands-on person who might enjoy this. Eons ago in an introductory geography course my instructor began the class by getting us to think spatially with this 10 minute exercise: take a blank sheet of paper and draw a typical ‘cloverleaf’ interchange where two 4-lane interstates cross. One Interstate runs north-south and the other runs east-west. So you need to draw the on- and off- ramps to get from either direction on one highway to either direction on the other highway, exiting and entering from the right slower-speed lane . I still remember that exercise years later and I found it a quite a bit more complicated than I thought it would be! (Look up the diagram of ‘cloverleaf…

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Jim Fonseca

Geography professor (retired) writes The One Minute Geographer featuring This Fragile Earth. Top writer in Transportation and, in past months, Travel.