The Worst Highways in the United States

Phil Cohen

It is clear that the condition of the interstate system is a costly problem for owner-operators and truckers nationwide—but which highways, cities and states are the worst perpetrators? Read on and learn which interstates, cities and states are costing you the most in terms of repairs and maintenance.

Running a small trucking company or working as an owner-operator comes with a lot of upfront costs—you have to lease or buy a truck, you have to pay for fuel, you have to pay for licensing and certification from the FMCSA, etc.

But one of the largest costs of starting your own trucking company is paying for maintenance; each truck may require up to $14,000 per year on repairs and upkeep.

Most of the damage done to big rig trucks are a result of America’s poor transportation infrastructure. The roads in the United States are arguably at an all-time low insofar as the quality is concerned. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the United States needs to invest over $4.5 trillion by 2025 in order to fix its crumbling roads and highways.

What Are the Worst Highways in the United States.?

There are many ways in which one can classify a road as “bad.” Bad, in this case, can mean dangerous, damaged, congested, poorly planned, etc. Oftentimes, a “bad” road has a maddening combination of those traits, ultimately damaging trucks, causing traffic and endangering human lives.

Accordingly, we thought it best to compile a couple of lists, each highlighting specific shortcomings—the rate of deadly crashes, congestion and poor design.

The Most Dangerous Roads in America

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration produced a report on the top ten most deadly highways in the United States, based on fatality crash rates. The most dangerous and worst highways go as follows:

  1. Florida US-1: (1079 fatalities)
  2. Florida US-41: (772 fatalities)
  3. Florida US-27: (614 fatalities)
  4. Texas US-83: (336 fatalities)
  5. Florida US-441: (442 fatalities)
  6. California I-40: (136 fatalities)
  7. Arizona I-40: (293 fatalities)
  8. Texas US-87: (197 fatalities)
  9. Florida US-17: (420 fatalities)
  10. Florida US-98: (465 fatalities)

*Originally reported in Forbes Magazine

The Most Congested Roads in America

The next measure of “badness” of the U.S. highway system is congestion. Everybody hates traffic, and when your job is dependent upon you hauling freight from point A to point B, bumper-to-bumper traffic can make it far more difficult to earn a living.

A study carried out by Texas A&M has revealed the most congested roads in the United States. Business Insider took a look at the report and ranked the ten worst freeways in America by cost of congestion per year and distance (hint—almost all of them are in L.A.):

  1. Los Angeles—Harbor Freeway/CA-110 NB: (Total cost of congestion: $95 million)
  2. Los Angeles—Harbor Freeway/I-110 NB: (Total cost of congestion: $158.17 million)
  3. Los Angeles—San Diego Freeway/I-405 NB (Total cost of congestion: $269.93 million)
  4. New York—Van Wyck Expressway/1-678 NB (Total cost of congestion: $46.93 million)
  5. Los Angeles—San Gabriel River Freeway/I-605 SB (Total cost of congestion: $703.45 million)
  6. Los Angeles—Santa Monica Freeway/1-10 EB (Total cost of congestion: $203.99 million)
  7. Los Angeles—Santa Monica Freeway/1-10 WB (Total cost of congestion: $169.84 million)
  8. San Francisco— James Lick Freeway/I-80 EB (Total cost of congestion: $43.71 million)
  9. San Francisco—Grove Shafter Freeway/CA-24 WB (Total cost of congestion: $43.34 million)
  10. Los Angeles—1-110 SB (Total cost of congestion: $30.93 million)

Roads that need to be reconstructed

While there are thousands of roads in the U.S. that require urgent repair, there are ten that many urban planners believe never should have been built. The Congress for the New Urbanism has singled out ten roads that ought to be torn up and restructured all together:

  1. Scajaquada Expressway, Buffalo, New York
  2. I-345, Dallas, Texas
  3. I-70, Denver, Colorado
  4. I-375, Detroit, Michigan
  5. I-980, Oakland, California
  6. Route 710, Pasadena, California
  7. Inner Loop, Rochester, New York
  8. I-280 Spur, San Francisco, California
  9. I-81, Syracuse, New York
  10. Route 29, Trenton, New Jersey

For one reason or another, the thirty roads from the foregoing lists are a major headache for truckers. Disrepair, congestion and an ill-advised design plague many of our nation’s freeways and costs truckers thousands of dollars each year.

The States with the Worst Roads in America

We have taken a look at which roads, specifically, take a toll on the trucking industry—but which states have the worst road conditions, on average?

The American Society of Civil Engineers, en route to giving the American infrastructure a dismal “D+” rating, identified which states have the poorest roads. Business Insider summarizes their finding, and identified the eight most flagrant offenders:

  1. Washington, D.C.—1,507 miles of public roads, with a whopping 95% in poor condition
  2. Connecticut—21,512 miles of public roads, 57% of which are in poor condition
  3. Rhode Island—16,691 miles of public roads, of which 54% are in poor condition
  4. California—195,834 miles of public roads, with half (50%) in poor condition
  5. New Jersey—39,065 miles of public roads, 38% of which are in poor condition
  6. Pennsylvania—120,091 miles of public roads, with 32% in poor condition
  7. New York—114,365 miles of public roads, 28% of which are in poor condition
  8. Washington—14,252 miles of public roads, 31% of which are in poor condition

Pay extra attention to the roads in those eight (well, seven and D.C.) states. In the worst four states, you are more likely to be on a bad road than on a good road. No wonder so much of your budget goes to repairs.

Cities with the Worst Roads

Lastly, let’s take a look at the urban areas whose transportation infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.

TRIP, a research group based out of Washington, D.C. that focuses on the transportation industry, compiled a report in November that unveiled the 25 urban areas with the worst rate of poor roads:

  1. San Francisco/Oakland—71% in poor condition
  2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana—60% in poor condition
  3. San Jose—59% in poor condition
  4. Detroit—56% in poor condition
  5. Milwaukee—56% in poor condition
  6. Bridgeport/Stamford—55% in poor condition
  7. Omaha—54% in poor condition
  8. Oklahoma City—53% in poor condition
  9. Grand Rapids—52% in poor condition
  10. Tulsa—49% in poor condition
  11. Honolulu—49% in poor condition
  12. Cleveland—49% in poor condition
  13. Seattle—47% in poor condition
  14. New Haven—47% in poor condition
  15. San Diego—46% in poor condition
  16. Denver/Aurora—45% in poor condition
  17. Chicago—44% in poor condition
  18. Baltimore—43% in poor condition
  19. New York/Newark—42% in poor condition
  20. Akron—42% in poor condition
  21. San Antonio—41% in poor condition
  22. Springfield—39% in poor condition
  23. Philadelphia—38% in poor condition
  24. Boston—38% in poor condition
  25. Hartford—38% in poor condition

So, take the preceding statistics and lists as you will. When driving in certain urban areas, states or freeways, it may be worth it to find alternate, safer routes in order to safeguard your truck (and yourself) from damage. Until the government invests in the transportation infrastructure, you will have to remain extra vigilant in protecting your truck. The good news, though, is that there is a way to combat the costs of repair—consider boosting your cash flow by working with a freight factoring company.

When you factor your unpaid freight bills, you receive an immediate, debt-free cash advance that frees you up to take on more loads and increase your clientele. Sound like a good deal? It is—give us a call today.

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Phil Cohen

Phil is the owner of PRN Funding and sister company Factor Finders. He has been an authority in the factoring industry for over 20 years, serving on the board of directors for several factoring associations.


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