States With the Worst Roads

October 21, 2016 by Steven M. Peters

Broken road in the woods
Source: Thinkstock
In its most recent assessment, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States a failing grade for its infrastructure. According to the group, $3.6 trillion would be needed to raise the standard of America’s roads to acceptable levels before 2020.

To determine the states with the worst roads, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed statistics from the Federal Highway Administration. The worst roads are in Rhode Island, where 52% of major roadways are in poor condition. By contrast, less than 5% of the roads tested in Idaho are in need of repair, the lowest share of any state.

Driving on rough, damaged roads can be unpleasant, dangerous, and often leads to additional vehicle operating and repair costs, including flat tires and general tire wear, deterioration of a vehicle’s shock absorption, extra fuel costs, and so on. These additional costs are highest in New Jersey, where on average each motorist spends an extra $601 annually on vehicle operating and repair costs. Nationwide, roads in disrepair cost motorists an extra $66.6 billion, or $324 per motorist each year.

Click here to see the states with the worst roads.

Bridges are another way to assess a state’s public road system. Nearly one in four bridges in America do not meet the standards set by the federal government. While the vast majority of these bridges are still safe to use, they must be monitored and eventually repaired or modernized. Travel on some are restricted to certain weight limits. States with more roads in poor condition tend to have a higher share of bridges that are deficient. Rhode Island, the state with the worst roads, also has the highest share of deficient bridges, at 56%.

Geographical features and weather conditions can make road construction and maintenance much more challenging. It is both cheaper and easier to build and maintain roads in a flat state like Kansas than in neighboring mountainous Colorado. In states such as Wisconsin, road pavement expands and contracts due to large temperature differences in winter and summer. Because this expansion and contraction damages the pavement, extra maintenance costs are required — costs not required in states with more even temperatures.

To identify the states with the worst roads, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed pavement roughness data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s 2014 Highway Statistics report. Also from the report are the share of deficient bridges and total lane-miles. The share of deficient bridges is the sum of bridges categorized as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Extra vehicle operating and repair costs are from the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Because 2014 pavement roughness data was unavailable for Massachusetts, 2013 data was used. All data is from the most recent period available.

These are the states with the worst roads.

Idaho welcome sign
Source: Thinkstock

50. Idaho
> Public roads in poor condition: 4.7% (the lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 19.8% (16th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $305 per motorist (21st highest)
> Size of road system: 100,317 lane-miles (16th smallest)

Fargo, North Dakota 2
Source: Thinkstock

49. North Dakota
> Public roads in poor condition: 4.9% (2nd lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 21.3% (19th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $237 per motorist (14th lowest)
> Size of road system: 176,613 lane-miles (23rd largest)

Nebraska sign
Source: Thinkstock

48. Nebraska
> Public roads in poor condition: 5.4% (3rd lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 23.7% (25th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $282 per motorist (25th lowest)
> Size of road system: 190,932 lane-miles (21st largest)

Downtown Nashville
Source: Thinkstock

47. Tennessee
> Public roads in poor condition: 5.9% (4th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 19.7% (14th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $182 per motorist (5th lowest)
> Size of road system: 202,310 lane-miles (19th largest)

Kentucky
Source: Thinkstock

46. Kentucky
> Public roads in poor condition: 7.4% (5th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 31.3% (12th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $185 per motorist (7th lowest)
> Size of road system: 166,286 lane-miles (25th smallest)

Panama City Beach, Florida, view of Front Beach Road at night
Source: Thinkstock

45. Florida
> Public roads in poor condition: 8.0% (6th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 16.5% (10th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $128 per motorist (2nd lowest)
> Size of road system: 272,435 lane-miles (7th largest)

Wyoming Winter Traffic Jam
Source: Thinkstock

44. Wyoming
> Public roads in poor condition: 8.2% (7th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 22.6% (23rd lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $236 per motorist (13th lowest)
> Size of road system: 60,381 lane-miles (9th smallest)

South Dakota
Source: Thinkstock

43. South Dakota
> Public roads in poor condition: 8.3% (8th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 24.0% (24th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $324 per motorist (17th highest)
> Size of road system: 167,800 lane-miles (25th largest)

Cincinnati, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

42. Ohio
> Public roads in poor condition: 9.2% (9th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 24.2% (23rd highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $212 per motorist (10th lowest)
> Size of road system: 262,166 lane-miles (9th largest)

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

National Bison Range Montana
Source: Wikimedia Commons

41. Montana
> Public roads in poor condition: 9.2% (10th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 17.4% (12th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $184 per motorist (6th lowest)
> Size of road system: 153,061 lane-miles (21st smallest)

Kansas freeway
Source: Thinkstock

40. Kansas
> Public roads in poor condition: 9.7% (11th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 16.9% (11th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $319 per motorist (18th highest)
> Size of road system: 286,701 lane-miles (4th largest)

Crossing the Dauphin Island Bridge Alabama
Source: Thinkstock

39. Alabama
> Public roads in poor condition: 9.9% (12th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 22.0% (21st lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $141 per motorist (3rd lowest)
> Size of road system: 213,075 lane-miles (17th largest)

Houston, Texas 3
Source: Thinkstock

38. Texas
> Public roads in poor condition: 10.2% (13th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 18.9% (13th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $343 per motorist (15th highest)
> Size of road system: 677,575 lane-miles (the largest)

Georgia
Source: Thinkstock

37. Georgia
> Public roads in poor condition: 11.3% (14th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 16.3% (9th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $60 per motorist (the lowest)
> Size of road system: 270,335 lane-miles (8th largest)

Oregon - Columbia Gorge winding highway with semi trucks evening traffic
Source: Thinkstock

36. Oregon
> Public roads in poor condition: 11.6% (15th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 23.1% (25th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $173 per motorist (4th lowest)
> Size of road system: 150,973 lane-miles (20th smallest)

Arizona road
Source: Thinkstock

35. Arizona
> Public roads in poor condition: 12.2% (16th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 11.7% (2nd lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $205 per motorist (9th lowest)
> Size of road system: 142,790 lane-miles (18th smallest)

Michigan winter driving
Source: Thinkstock

34. Michigan
> Public roads in poor condition: 12.2% (17th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 27.5% (15th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $357 per motorist (14th highest)
> Size of road system: 256,747 lane-miles (10th largest)

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Driving in the rain north carolina
Source: Thinkstock

33. North Carolina
> Public roads in poor condition: 12.5% (18th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 29.4% (13th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $241 per motorist (15th lowest)
> Size of road system: 225,973 lane-miles (16th largest)

Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Source: Wikimedia Commons

32. New Hampshire
> Public roads in poor condition: 13.4% (19th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 31.4% (11th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $259 per motorist (21st lowest)
> Size of road system: 33,243 lane-miles (6th smallest)

Traffic Out of Charleston, South Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

31. South Carolina
> Public roads in poor condition: 13.6% (20th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 20.6% (17th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $255 per motorist (19th lowest)
> Size of road system: 160,359 lane-miles (23rd smallest)

Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

30. Minnesota
> Public roads in poor condition: 14.0% (21st lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 9.2% (the lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $250 per motorist (17th lowest)
> Size of road system: 285,083 lane-miles (5th largest)

Hawthorne (Mineral County), Nevada
Source: Wikimedia Commons

29. Nevada
> Public roads in poor condition: 14.4% (22nd lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 13.1% (3rd lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $233 per motorist (12th lowest)
> Size of road system: 90,813 lane-miles (14th smallest)

Farmland, Indiana, USA
Source: Thinkstock

28. Indiana
> Public roads in poor condition: 15.0% (23rd lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 21.6% (20th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $225 per motorist (11th lowest)
> Size of road system: 201,924 lane-miles (20th largest)

Road in Acadia National Park Maine
Source: Thinkstock

27. Maine
> Public roads in poor condition: 18.1% (24th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 32.9% (9th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $245 per motorist (16th lowest)
> Size of road system: 46,947 lane-miles (8th smallest)

Arkansas, Countryside
Source: Thinkstock

26. Arkansas
> Public roads in poor condition: 18.2% (25th lowest)
> Deficient bridges: 22.3% (22nd lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $308 per motorist (20th highest)
> Size of road system: 210,304 lane-miles (18th largest)

Busy city highway at twilight.
Source: Thinkstock

25. Illinois
> Public roads in poor condition: 18.8% (25th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 15.7% (6th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $292 per motorist (23rd highest)
> Size of road system: 306,086 lane-miles (3rd largest)

Delaware Route 41
Source: Wikimedia Commons

24. Delaware
> Public roads in poor condition: 19.1% (24th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 19.8% (15th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $257 per motorist (20th lowest)
> Size of road system: 13,876 lane-miles (3rd smallest)

Iowa
Source: Thinkstock

23. Iowa
> Public roads in poor condition: 19.2% (23rd highest)
> Deficient bridges: 25.5% (21st highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $381 per motorist (11th highest)
> Size of road system: 234,073 lane-miles (15th largest)

Utah
Source: Thinkstock

22. Utah
> Public roads in poor condition: 20.1% (22nd highest)
> Deficient bridges: 13.9% (4th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $197 per motorist (8th lowest)
> Size of road system: 97,273 lane-miles (15th smallest)

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Independence Pass Colorado
Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Colorado
> Public roads in poor condition: 21.5% (21st highest)
> Deficient bridges: 16.0% (7th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $287 per motorist (25th highest)
> Size of road system: 184,666 lane-miles (22nd largest)

Richmond, Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

20. Virginia
> Public roads in poor condition: 21.9% (20th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 25.9% (19th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $254 per motorist (18th lowest)
> Size of road system: 162,592 lane-miles (24th smallest)

Baltimore, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

19. Maryland
> Public roads in poor condition: 22.2% (19th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 26.8% (17th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $422 per motorist (7th highest)
> Size of road system: 70,303 lane-miles (10th smallest)

Alaska
Source: Thinkstock

18. Alaska
> Public roads in poor condition: 23.2% (18th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 22.7% (24th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $359 per motorist (13th highest)
> Size of road system: 31,716 lane-miles (5th smallest)

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

17. Missouri
> Public roads in poor condition: 23.7% (17th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 26.5% (18th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $380 per motorist (12th highest)
> Size of road system: 272,976 lane-miles (6th largest)

Aerial view of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

16. Louisiana
> Public roads in poor condition: 23.9% (16th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 29.1% (14th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $408 per motorist (9th highest)
> Size of road system: 130,024 lane-miles (17th smallest)

Interstate 91 southbound Vermont
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Vermont
> Public roads in poor condition: 24.6% (15th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 32.1% (10th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $424 per motorist (6th highest)
> Size of road system: 29,219 lane-miles (4th smallest)

Family trip new mexico
Source: Thinkstock

14. New Mexico
> Public roads in poor condition: 24.7% (14th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 16.3% (8th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $291 per motorist (24th highest)
> Size of road system: 143,255 lane-miles (19th smallest)

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Biloxi Beach at Sunset, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

13. Mississippi
> Public roads in poor condition: 25.7% (13th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 20.9% (18th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $419 per motorist (8th highest)
> Size of road system: 158,491 lane-miles (22nd smallest)

Wheeling, West Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

12. West Virginia
> Public roads in poor condition: 28.5% (12th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 34.8% (7th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $273 per motorist (23rd lowest)
> Size of road system: 79,934 lane-miles (12th smallest)

Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
Source: Thinkstock

11. New York
> Public roads in poor condition: 28.6% (11th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 38.6% (5th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $403 per motorist (10th highest)
> Size of road system: 242,447 lane-miles (12th largest)

Philadelphia skyline - Pennsylvania - USA United States of America
Source: Thinkstock

10. Pennsylvania
> Public roads in poor condition: 28.7% (10th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 41.6% (4th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $341 per motorist (16th highest)
> Size of road system: 250,380 lane-miles (11th largest)

Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

9. Massachusetts
> Public roads in poor condition: 30.1% (9th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 52.2% (2nd highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $313 per motorist (19th highest)
> Size of road system: 76,873 lane-miles (11th smallest)

Automobile Alley Oklahoma City
Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Oklahoma
> Public roads in poor condition: 30.1% (8th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 25.0% (22nd highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $425 per motorist (5th highest)
> Size of road system: 234,129 lane-miles (14th largest)

Seattle, Washington roads
Source: Thinkstock

7. Washington
> Public roads in poor condition: 31.1% (7th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 25.8% (20th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $272 per motorist (22nd lowest)
> Size of road system: 169,011 lane-miles (24th largest)

Rear view of traffic on a street, Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA
Source: Thinkstock

6. California
> Public roads in poor condition: 37.0% (6th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 26.8% (16th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $586 per motorist (2nd highest)
> Size of road system: 478,377 lane-miles (2nd largest)

Hawaii road
Source: Thinkstock

5. Hawaii
> Public roads in poor condition: 38.3% (5th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 42.5% (3rd highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $515 per motorist (3rd highest)
> Size of road system: 9,698 lane-miles (the smallest)

Wisconsin Highway 110
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Wisconsin
> Public roads in poor condition: 42.0% (4th highest)
> Deficient bridges: 14.0% (5th lowest)
> Added vehicle costs: $281 per motorist (24th lowest)
> Size of road system: 238,240 lane-miles (13th largest)

Skyline of Hartford Connecticut on a beautiful sunny day
Source: Thinkstock

3. Connecticut
> Public roads in poor condition: 44.5% (3rd highest)
> Deficient bridges: 34.5% (8th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $294 per motorist (22nd highest)
> Size of road system: 45,809 lane-miles (7th smallest)

New Jersey Turnpike
Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. New Jersey
> Public roads in poor condition: 48.7% (2nd highest)
> Deficient bridges: 35.5% (6th highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $601 per motorist (the highest)
> Size of road system: 85,266 lane-miles (13th smallest)

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Warwick, Rhode Island, Kent County
Source: Thinkstock

1. Rhode Island
> Public roads in poor condition: 52.0% (the highest)
> Deficient bridges: 56.0% (the highest)
> Added vehicle costs: $467 per motorist (4th highest)
> Size of road system: 12,762 lane-miles (2nd smallest)