If you’ve ever driven on a bumpy, pothole-filled road, you know that America’s roads are in rough shape. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, our nation’s roads are graded at a D-.
The cost of poor roads is more than just an inconvenience. Poor road conditions lead to car accidents, road rage, and closures. In fact, it is estimated that poor roads cost Americans billions of dollars each year in vehicle repairs and medical bills.
There are several reasons why our roads are in such bad shape. Lack of funding for maintenance is a big problem. Additionally, poor design and construction can lead to problems down the line. Extreme weather conditions also take a toll on our roads.
Fortunately, there are solutions to America’s poor road conditions. Increasing funding for maintenance is crucial. Additionally, improving design and construction standards can help prevent future problems. Finally, preparing for extreme weather conditions can help reduce the damage done to our roads during storms.
If we don’t take action to fix our roads, the situation will only get worse. But by working together, we can make America’s roads safe and smooth once again.
America’s Roads Are in Rough Shape.
The cost of poor roads.
The cost of poor roads is more than just the cost of repairing them. Poorly maintained roads can lead to car accidents, which can cause injuries, property damage, and even death. In addition, road closures due to poor road conditions can cause traffic delays and increased congestion.
The condition of America’s roads.
America’s roads are in poor condition. According to the National Highway Administration, over a quarter of America’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. In addition, nearly half of America’s highways are in need of repair or reconstruction.
The danger of America’s roads.
Poorly maintained and designed roads can be dangerous for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Potholes can damage tires and suspension systems, while poorly maintained shoulders can lead to breakdowns and accidents. In addition, badly designed intersections can lead to confusion and collisions.
The Causes of America’s Poor Road Conditions.
Lack of funding for road maintenance.
The lack of funding for road maintenance is one of the major causes of America’s poor road conditions. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, it would cost $3.6 trillion to fix all of America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems by 2025. That’s nearly $11,000 per person.
The federal government only provides about $20 billion per year for road repairs, which is not nearly enough to make a dent in the trillions of dollars needed.
In addition, many states are struggling to maintain their roads due to budget cuts. As a result, America’s roads are in poor condition and getting worse every year.
Poor road design and construction.
Another cause of America’s poor road conditions is poorly designed and constructed roads. Many roads are built without proper drainage, which can cause them to flood or wash out during heavy rains.
In addition, poorly designed roads can lead to potholes and other damage.
Improperly constructed roads can also be dangerous, as they may not be able to support the weight of cars and trucks. As a result, poorly designed and constructed roads are a major contributor to America’s poor road conditions.
Extreme weather conditions.
Extreme weather conditions are another cause of America’s poor road conditions. Heavy rains can wash out or flood roads, while snow and ice can make them slippery and dangerous.
Extreme heat can also damage asphalt, making it more likely to buckle or crack. As a result, extreme weather conditions are a major contributor to America’s poor road conditions.
The Consequences of America’s Poor Road Conditions.
One of the most obvious consequences of America’s poor road conditions is an increase in car accidents. Potholes, for example, can cause serious damage to a car’s tires and suspension, and can even cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
Poorly maintained roads can also lead to increased traffic congestion, as drivers attempt to avoid potholes and other hazards. This can lead to frustration and aggressive driving, which can in turn lead to more accidents.
Another consequence of America’s poor road conditions is an increase in road rage. When drivers are stuck in traffic or dealing with hazardous conditions, they are more likely to become angry and lash out at other motorists. This can lead to dangerous situations, and can even result in violence.
Finally, poor road conditions can also lead to road closures. When roads are not properly maintained, they become unsafe for travel and must be closed off until repairs can be made.
This can cause major inconvenience for drivers, as well as leading to lost time and money for businesses that rely on access to these roads.
The Solutions to America’s Poor Road Conditions.
Increase funding for road maintenance.
The first solution to America’s poor road conditions is to increase funding for road maintenance. According to the National Highway Maintenance Cost Estimate, it would cost $170 billion per year over a 20-year period to significantly improve the condition of America’s roads (National Highway Maintenance Cost Estimate, 2016).
This estimate does not include the cost of repairing structurally deficient bridges, which would add an additional $76 billion per year (National Highway Maintenance Cost Estimate, 2016).
However, since 2009, Congress has only appropriated an average of $91 billion per year for highway and bridge capital improvements and maintenance (Federal Highway Administration, 2017).
In order to close the gap between what is needed and what is being spent, it is recommended that Congress appropriate an additional $79 billion per year for highway and bridge capital improvements and maintenance (National Highway Maintenance Cost Issue Brief, 2016).
Improve road design and construction.
A second solution to America’s poor road conditions is to improve road design and construction. One way to do this is by using better materials.
For example, concrete roads are more durable than asphalt roads and require less maintenance (Concrete vs Asphalt Roads, 2017).
Additionally, concrete roads can be designed to better handle extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow (Concrete vs Asphalt Roads, 2017). Another way to improve road design and construction is by increasing the standards for new roads.
For example, the American Society of Civil Engineers has recommended that states adopt a “complete streets” policy which requires that all new or redesigned roads accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users as well as vehicles (ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, 2017).
Prepare for extreme weather conditions.
A third solution to America’s poor road conditions is to prepare for extreme weather conditions. This can be done by investing in weather-resistant materials and designs for new roads as well as retrofitting existing roads with weather-resistant features (Extreme Weather Requires New Road Designs That Can Withstand Heat Waves And Flooding., 2018).
Additionally, state DOTs should develop extreme weather response plans that detail how they will maintain safe travel conditions during severe weather events such as hurricanes or winter storms (Extreme Weather Requires New Road Designs That Can Withstand Heat Waves And Flooding., 2018).
It is clear that America’s roads are in rough shape. The cost of poor roads is high, both in terms of money and human lives. The causes of America’s poor road conditions are many, but lack of funding for road maintenance is the primary cause.
The consequences of America’s poor road conditions are also significant, including car accidents, road rage, and road closures.
The solutions to America’s poor road conditions are not simple, but they must be addressed if we are to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.