New Analysis Provides Findings on Condition of Nation’s Roadways and Bridges

An analysis of Federal Highway Administration data by the transportation research group TRIP and the USA Today yields findings on the condition of our nation’s roadways and bridges.  Key findings from the USA Today article include:

  • 38% of roads in ‘good’ condition, according to analysis
  • About one in 10 of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient
  • $85 billion is required annually to improve the condition of roads and bridges

In Maryland, the analysis found that 7% of bridges are structurally deficient and 38.4% of roadways are in good condition.

For the purposes of the analysis, the groups looked at data for all roads eligible for federal highway funds, including interstates, highways and other major roads. 

The Federal Highway Administration says the picture of America’s roadways is rosier than the one painted by the USA TODAY analysis. The agency says the debate should focus on giving more weight to roads with more traffic.

Using such a measure, the FHWA says its data show that the share of travel occurring on roads in good condition improved from 46% in 2008 to 48% in 2011. Yet, like the TRIP/USA TODAY analysis, the FHWA analysis shows that the percentage of travel occurring on roads in poor condition increased slightly from 15% in 2008 to 15.3% in 2011.

The agency says the higher percentage of travel occurring on pavements in good condition in 2011 can partly be attributed to the stimulus, but transportation experts see that funding as a mere Band-Aid.

“Considering the size of the overall investment need, the Recovery Act was more of a temporary relief than a long-term solution,” says Tony Dorsey, a spokesman for AASHTO, which represents state highway and transportation departments.

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