Now here is a surprise. How many of you out there suspect that the condition of our pavements continue to get worse? Well, if you said, “Yes,” you win! You win a road system that continues to get worse with no end in sight!
Approximately 4,300 miles (10,900 lane-miles) of the region’s paved, federal-aid roads were visually rated in 2009 as part of our state Asset Management Program. Results of this survey indicate 18.5 percent of the road network in good condition, 47.5 percent in fair condition, and 34 percent in poor condition. In comparison, the 2008 survey ranked 13 percent of the road network in good condition, 57 percent in fair condition, and 30 percent in poor condition.
When you really start to see the story, though, is when you look at the last six years of data together. The chart below does that. Look at the growth in the percentage of poor pavements – from 9-34 percent in just six years! In just six years the amount of poor pavement has quadrupled. The percentage of fair pavements has gone down by almost the same amount. This means we do not have the resources to invest in pavements when they are rated in fair condition to return them to good status. As a result, needed maintenance is not done and roads continue to deteriorate into a poor state.
Road condition trends, 2004-2009, by percent of lane-miles
In 2009, we did see the percentage of good pavements go up. That was due to 500 lane-miles of roadway being improved – almost twice the number of lane-miles improved in 2008. As a result, the percentage of good pavement increased slightly, but overall, the condition continued to decline.
By the way – projections done by the state Transportation Asset Management Council suggest that things will continue to get worse for the next several years until things stabilize around year 2015. At that time almost 70 percent of the network will be in poor condition! This is our reality as a region and as a state until we either find a way to increase investments in our pavements or begin to abandon our roadways all together. Some choice, huh?