Thursday, July 10, 2014

1/3 of rural roads in some states in poor condition; many rural bridges deficient; death rates high

About one-third of rural roads in Connecticut, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Hawaii, Michigan and Kansas are rated as being in poor condition, according to a report released Thursday by The Road Information Program, funded by lobbies interested in highways and their safety. TRIP says federal transportation data from 2012 rated 15 percent of the nation's major rural roads as being in poor condition and another 40 percent as mediocre or fair. Data from 2013 shows that "12 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient, and 10 percent were functionally obsolete."

Connecticut's rural roads are in the worst shape, with 35 percent rated as being in poor condition, the report says. Next are Rhode Island and West Virginia, at 33 percent; Hawaii and Michigan, 32 percent; Kansas, 30 percent; Oklahoma, 29 percent; Maine, 28 percent; Mississippi, 25 percent; Arkansas and Missouri, 23 percent; Washington, 22 percent; New Mexico, Alabama and Vermont, 21 percent; Alaska, 20 percent; New Hampshire and Virginia, 18 percent; and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, 17 percent.

One-fourth of all rural bridges in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were rated as deficient. Iowa was next, at 22 percent, followed by South Dakota, 21 percent; Oklahoma, 20 percent; Hawaii and Nebraska, 19 percent; North Dakota, 17 percent; Maine and Louisiana, 16 percent; Missouri and New Hampshire, 15 percent; Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Wyoming, New York and Michigan, 14 percent; and West Virginia and California, 13 percent.

The report found that in 2012 non-interstate rural roads "had a traffic fatality rate of 2.21 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.78 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel." The highest fatality rate was in South Carolina, which had 3.99 deaths per every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to 0.68 on all other roads.

South Carolina was followed by Florida, 3.35 fatalities per every 100 million miles, compared to 0.95 on other roads; West Virginia, 2.8 and 0.99; Texas, 2.76/1.03; Arkansas, 2.71/0.87; Tennessee, 2.68/0.95; Arizona, 2.66/1.11; Kentucky, 2.64/0.78; California, 2.61/0.63; Pennsylvania, 2.6/0.91; Oklahoma, 2.52/0.92; Hawaii, 2.48/.089; North Carolina, 2.44/0.64; Montana, 2.4/0.95; North Dakota, 2.33/0.77; Kansas, 2.26/0.74; South Dakota, 2.21/0.74; Ohio, 2.15/0.63; New York, 2.13/0.59; and Indiana, 2.09/0.56.

"TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions, and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe surface transportation network that promotes economic development and quality of life," its website says.

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