Our roads and bridges are in terrible shape, and that puts us all risk for serious injury and death while driving.
According to a recent report by TRIP, a transportation solutions research group in D.C., we would need to shell out $740 billion to repair the infrastructure deficiencies that exist right now on highways, roads and bridges. And even that wouldn’t be a long-term solution. We need to find a sustainable source of funding if we’re going to keep pace with the ever-increasing amount of vehicle miles traveled – which has increased 15 percent in the last year and is expected for heavy trucks to increase 72 percent in the next 15 years.
The report, “Bumpy Roads Ahead, America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make Our Roads Smoother,” details how poor road conditions affect our wallets and our safety. Potholes and pavement deterioration are bad for our tires and for the level of control we maintain over our vehicles. This is especially perilous on highways, which get high volumes of heavy vehicles. If those drivers lose control of their vehicles – even momentarily – the it could prove deadly.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 26 percent of our roads in the Sunshine state are rated in either poor or mediocre condition. Of all our bridges, 17 percent – or 2,050 out of 12,070 – are structurally deficient.
A 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line report indicated if there was a 1 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled, we would need to increase our investment in our national transportation infrastructure by 36 percent in order to improve the conditions and meet the mobility needs of the country. That would mean going from an $88 billion annual investment to a $120 billion investment. It’s true that there is a $350 billion investment made under the FAST Act, but that expires in 2020 and there is no other sustainable revenue for projects that should really be ongoing.
It’s important to understand that roads were never meant to last for ever. Road pavement has five stages: Design, construction, initial deterioration, visible deterioration and pavement disintegration/ failure. The average life cycle of pavement is 25 years.
The Federal Highway Administration reported in 2010 there is an over-reliance on short-term repairs of pavements that fail to address the underlying structural integrity issues that are going to guarantee these roads will be safe years from now. Those government agencies only focusing on the current road conditions – without planning for the future – are going to face a huge backlog of replacement and rehab needs of their roads in the decades to come.
When road surfaces are rougher, it puts greater stress on individual vehicles and eats up more fuel. Roads that are rated poor often have broken or cracked pavement, and that can be especially dangerous. Road deterioration is accelerated by freeze-thaw cycles, which is why we tend to see the problem exaggerated in northern states like Ohio. Still, that doesn’t mean Florida is immune.
When a car accident in West Palm Beach is caused at least in part due to poor road conditions, there may be grounds to pursue personal injury litigation against the city, county, state or federal agency responsible for maintenance. However, these cases are highly fact-specific, which means it will depend heavily on the individual circumstances.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
U.S. has a $740 Billion Backlog of Roads and Bridges Repairs, Nov. 9, 2016, By Clarissa Hawes, Trucks.com
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