Unfortunately, Bagley said, there's only a limited amount that engineers can do to eliminate the snarls, and the projects on the drawing boards are fairly modest.
Ridge and Germantown Pikes and, to an extent, Flourtown Road, are all part of the Schuylkill Expressway corridor, he said. The same flow of traffic that crowds the expressway also washes through Whitemarsh and Plymouth.
"The Schuylkill is so fragile that when it has problems, it has reverberations throughout Montgomery County," Bagley said.
Unfortunately, widening the Schuylkill is a financial, political and environmental impossibility, he said. So "the only thing we can do is manage the traffic in the corridor."
One example of that, he said, is widening Ridge Pike where possible. A project to add a fourth lane from the Philadelphia city line to Church Road in Whitemarsh is on the boards, he said.
The not-quite-so-good news: "It's going to be the end of the decade before we can get to it."
At the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission - the agency that coordinates the region's major construction initiatives - senior transportation engineer Matthew Gates said that traffic counts show the overload in Whitpain and Whitemarsh Townships.
At several points on Skippack Pike, for instance, daily traffic has been steady - about 23,000 cars a day - year after year.
What that means, he said, is that Skippack - and other roads in the area - simply cannot take any more.
"It's been at capacity for years," Gates said.
And it's not suburbanites clogging those roads as they head to jobs in Philadelphia, he said.
"The reverse commute is actually the heavier flow," he said, meaning that more people come into Blue Bell, Plymouth and Whitemarsh each day to work than leave.
The planning commission's figures show, for instance, that 8,555 Whitemarsh residents held jobs in 2000. But 15,493 people worked in Whitemarsh.
But when it comes to SEPTA and mass-transit options in the area, Gates said, "If you are not going into Philadelphia" - and relatively few employees are - "you're not using transit."
All is not bleak on the traffic front. Bagley said a number of seemingly minor improvements - better signs and smarter use of traffic signals - can do a lot to brighten commuters' days.
For the future, he said, most of the big, buildable parcels around Blue Bell are already gone, so traffic growth there is more likely to level off.
But "Plymouth still has tons of places to grow," Bagley said.
And Whitemarsh Township is trying to keep growth in check to keep some of its horse-country charm.
But Bagley said that some of Conshohocken's frenetic growth is almost certain to march downstream along the Schuylkill and into the Spring Mill section of Whitemarsh Township.
Parts of that area have long been zoned to accommodate more growth, Bagley said.
Contact staff writer Larry Fish at 610-313-8109 or email@example.com.