Two states not making the grade in road and bridge conditions

| Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two U.S. states are barely making the grade when it comes to the condition of their roads and bridges, according to a new report released by a transportation watchdog group.

Earlier this week, The Road Information Project, or TRIP, unveiled its findings in Michigan, which found that two-fifths of major roads in the state are in poor condition, and nearly one-third of bridges in the state are deficient.

The report found that 38 percent of major roads in the state are rated in poor or mediocre condition, earning the state a grade of “D” for its road conditions.

The report also assigns a grade of “D” to bridge conditions in Michigan, noting that 28 percent of the state’s bridges are rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Michigan also receives a grade of “C-” for traffic safety, with an average of 1,286 fatalities occurring per year in the state. Congestion levels in Michigan earn the state a grade of “C,” with 31 percent of the state’s urban interstates and other highways or freeways considered congested.

According to the report, 14 percent of Michigan’s major roads were rated in poor condition and an additional 24 percent were in mediocre condition. Sixteen percent of bridges in Michigan are rated as structurally deficient, showing significant deterioration to decks and other major components. An additional 12 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges do not meet modern design standards or are no longer adequate for the volume of traffic that they carry.

“Without an increase in transportation investment, Michigan will not be able to move forward with numerous projects that would enhance safety, improve road and bridge conditions, relieve congestion and attract economic development,” said William M. Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, in a press release.

Meanwhile, a second TRIP report found similar problems with roadways in New Hampshire. According to the study, nearly half of state-maintained roads and almost a third of bridges in the state are in substandard condition, earning the state a below-average grade.

The report found that 47 percent of state-maintained roads in New Hampshire are rated in poor or mediocre condition, earning the state a grade of “D” for its road conditions.

The report also assigns a grade of “D” to bridge conditions in New Hampshire, noting that 32 percent of bridges in the state are rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. New Hampshire receives a grade of “C” for traffic safety, with an average of 139 traffic fatalities occurring per year in the state.

Congestion levels in New Hampshire also earn the state a grade of “C,” with 24 percent of the state’s urban interstates and other highways or freeways considered congested.

According to the TRIP report, 14 percent of bridges in New Hampshire are rated as structurally deficient, showing significant deterioration to decks and other major components. An additional 18 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges do not meet modern design standards or are no longer adequate for the volume of traffic that they carry.