Louisiana's roads rank second-worst

| Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The roads and bridges of Louisiana rank the second-worst in the nation and are in need of immediate repair, according to a national study. A Washington, DC-based group recently released a study ranking California first, Louisiana second.

The Road Information Program (TRIP) noted Louisiana's bad roads and shoddy bridges might cost the state business and economic opportunity down the line. According to the report, 27 percent of the state's major roads are in poor condition, and 34 percent of bridges 20 feet or longer need repair or replacement.

"Louisiana has an overburdened roadway system that is carrying significant levels of commercial truck traffic," said William M Wilkins, TRIP's executive director. The group assigned the following letter grades to Louisiana: Roads, D; Bridges, C-; Traffic Congestion, C; Shipping, C+; and Funding, C-.

The study also found that, because of Louisiana's poor road conditions, state motorists pay $1.2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs -- $439 each -- to drive on roads in need of repair and improvement. Motorists pay 50 percent more in extra vehicle operating costs than the national average of $289 per year.

Louisiana roads are projected to need 8.5 percent additional road capacity statewide by 2020. "Improving Louisiana's roads and bridges would help the state accommodate this," Wilkins said. "Already, Louisiana's Lower Mississippi River is the world's busiest port complex, with trucks offloading and loading goods and components destined for factories and stores in the United States and Latin America."

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