The Worst Roads in the U.S.

MainStreet

Every year when the snow melts, cities, states, and local municipalities make plans to remedy the havoc that winter snow plows and chained tires have wreaked on their roads. As cash-strapped states weigh where their road-repair budgets should go in 2011, MainStreet decided to take a look at the most recent data to determine who had the worst roads in the country.

More from MainStreet.com

Most Dangerous Spring Break Spots in the U.S.

The Most Expensive Weather Disasters in America

Are Travel Agents Worth the Extra Cost?

To do this, we analyzed four metrics, ranked each state on each indicator, and pooled the results to generate a cumulative ranking for all 50 states (sorry, D.C.). We avoided bringing money into the equation at all, since expenses on road maintenance tell us nothing more than how much money was spent on road repairs. After all, states that spent the most on their roads could be assumed to have the worst (the more repairs are needed, the more money will be spent), but also the best (more money spent on roads means, well, better roads). Instead we looked at:

Poor-condition mileage. To compare the percentage of each state's roads deemed to be in "poor condition" we looked at 2008 numbers put together in a comprehensive report by the Reason Foundation. We combined the rankings for rural interstates, urban interstates and other rural and urban roads to get a unified ranking for road condition.

Deficient or obsolete bridges. Because bridges and overpasses make up an important part of roads everywhere, we looked at 2009 bridge condition data (the most recent available) from the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.

Fatalities. To get an idea of road safety, we looked at the number of road fatalities per state in 2009 -- measured per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to account for the different lengths of road in each state -- from the Federal Highway Administration.

Congestion. We again used the Reason Foundation's calculations to determine peak-hour volume-to-capacity ratios on each state's roads.

1. Louisiana

Poor-condition mileage rank (1=most): 8 out of 50
Deficient bridges rank: 12 out of 50
Fatalities rank: 2 out of 50
Congestion rank: 23 out of 50

Nobody can doubt that Louisiana has had a rough decade. Hurricanes were part of the problem, causing material damage and the complications of evacuation and reconstruction, which put additional stress on the road system. The state ranked number two in fatalities in 2009 (after Montana), and high marks for poor-condition roads and bridges give it the dubious honor of having the worst roads in the nation.

One ray of sunlight is that the feds have responded with extra cash: Louisiana ranks eighth out of 50 states for money allocated to it by the Federal Highway Fund ($54.31 per capita), so rehabilitation of those roads should continue to show progress.

2. North Carolina

Poor-condition mileage rank: 16 out of 50
Deficient bridges rank: 10 out of 50
Fatalities rank: 18 out of 50
Congestion rank: 9 out of 50

The runner-up in the ranking goes to North Carolina, with no standout numbers beyond the picture they paint as a whole: The state places in the worst 20 for all of the indicators, with numbers for deficient bridges and congestion placing in the 10 worst. It might be hard for the state to address its problems too, as it ranks 44 out of 50 states for per-capita fund allocation from the Federal Highway Fund.

On the plus side, a new program from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to install solar panels to power its airport should free up some cash for much-needed road repairs.

3. Oklahoma

Poor-condition mileage rank: 3 out of 50
Deficient bridges rank: 13 out of 50
Fatalities rank: 11 out of 50
Congestion rank: 34 out of 50

With more than 400 miles of the iconic Route 66 within its borders, Oklahoma has not benefited from the road's historic status to attract more money to its road system. It logs the third-highest amount of poor-condition mileage in the U.S., while its bridges rank 13th. Fatalities are also a problem in the Sooner State, but the authorities are at least addressing the problem head-on, with a 2009 report on road safety that includes pictures of the worst stretches of its roads.

4. West Virginia

Poor-condition mileage rank: 12 out of 50
Deficient bridges rank: 6 out of 50
Fatalities rank: 4 out of 50
Congestion rank: 43 out of 50

West Virginia, despite being able to boast very low levels of traffic congestion, ranks disturbingly high for fatalities and for the condition of its roads and bridges. The state's Department of Transportation makes little mention of these problems, but the multimedia section includes an instructional video on how to properly navigate a roundabout. Perhaps authorities think that lack of knowledge by West Virginia drivers will help improve road safety in the state.

5. Arkansas

Poor-condition mileage rank: 10 out of 50
Deficient bridges rank: 32 out of 50
Fatalities rank: 5 out of 50
Congestion rank: 22 out of 50

At No. 5 is Arkansas, whose 10th-highest percentage of roads in poor condition probably has something to do with it's fifth-highest level of road fatalities in 2009. Thankfully the state is able to throw some money at the problem, as its funds allocated per capita ranked 11th in the nation in 2009.

Click here to see the full list of The Worst Roads in the U.S.

___

Popular Stories on Yahoo!:

10 Best States to Make a Living

Top-Selling Jerseys in the NBA

Great Gadgets for Under $25

Rates

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Master's Degree in Nursing

    CCNE accredited MS in nursing in as few as 18 months online. Learn more today!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Don't care about Alibaba? Here's why it may matter

    When the Alibaba Group Holding prices its initial public offering Thursday, small businesses in particular will be watching. Founder Jack Ma -the former English-teacher-turned-dot-com billionaire-has touted his e-commerce platform as a way for smaller merchants to expand their international…

    CNBC
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Don't buy Alibaba stock: 'Dean of Valuation'

    Investors should steer clear of Alibaba , valuation expert Aswath Damodaran said Wednesday. On CNBC's " Fast Money ," Damodaran, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, noted that he was looking at Alibaba stock from the perspective of a long-term investor, not a…

    CNBC
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Wondering How You Could Save on Home Insurance?

    Get a quote from Farmers Insurance and discover how you could save. Speak with an agent to get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

    AdChoicesFarmers InsuranceSponsored
  • Play

    Tues., Sept. 16: Watch Humana Stock

    Humana, Global X Social Media Index ETF and Majesco Entertainment are among stocks to watch. WSJ's Chris Dieterich discusses the details with Michael Casey. Photo: Humana

    WSJ Live