CHICAGO (STMW) — If an alien civilization chooses to attack downtown, flee by all means, but avoid the Dan Ryan Expressway — particularly if the warships arrive on Friday during the rush hour.

For the fourth year in a row, Chicago has been rated the nation’s third-most congested city, with the Dan Ryan having three of America’s worst bottlenecks, according to yearly traffic scorecard produced by INRIX, which provides traffic and navigation services.

Only New York and Los Angeles had worse overall congestion than Chicago in 2010, with Washington, D.C., and Dallas rounding out the top five.

The city’s worst bottleneck is northbound on the Dan Ryan at the Canalport Avenue exit. If it’s any consolation, the bottleneck is rated the nation’s third-worst, down from second in 2009, according to the scorecard.

In case you needed telling, the absolute worst time to be on the road in the city is Friday around 5:15 p.m.

“America is back on the road to gridlock,” said Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO. “Population growth combined with increases in interstate commerce spurred by economic recovery are fueling these increases. With only 150,000 new jobs created in our nation’s urban centers last year, we can expect even more gridlock when the 6 million jobs lost in the recession return to the nation’s cities.”

Of the 100 most populated cities in America, 70 experienced increases in traffic congestion compared with a year earlier, according to INRIX.

Nationwide, traffic congestion is up about 11 percent, said INRIX’s Jim Bak, but there was almost no change in the amount of cars on the road in Chicago, although that’s likely to change as the economic recovery gathers pace, Bak said.

“In a way, we should like traffic — even though it’s enormously frustrating,” Bak said.

Two other northbound Dan Ryan locations made the list of the nation’s 10 worst bottlenecks: Ruble Street, ranked 7th, and 18th Street, ranked 8th.

–Chicago Sun-Times, via the Sun-Times Media Wire