WASHINGTON — Potholes, cracked pavement and crumbling roadways. It’s the nation’s capital, but D.C. has some of the worst paved roads in the United States.
“Ninety-two percent of the city’s major roads have poor pavement conditions,” says Rocky Moretti, director of policy for TRIP, a transportation research group.
Conversely, just 28 percent of Maryland’s major urban roads and 19 percent of Virginia’s major urban roads are described as being in poor condition, according to Federal Highway Administration data.
D.C.’s roads are among the most heavily traveled in the United States. The data show a high number of city roads have been in poor condition the last six or seven years.
“Everybody in the District knows that the roads need repair,” says D.C. councilwoman Mary Cheh, who chairs the council’s transportation committee.
Still, Cheh believes the roads aren’t as bad as TRIP describes: “I had a hearing last year and it showed that our local roads, in particular, many of them fall into a category of fair or poor.”
Cheh blames Washington’s wintry weather, saying “we’re always on the edge of freezing or going above freezing, and that works havoc on the roads in the winter.”
The rough roads are also wrecking havoc on your vehicle. If you drive in the city, you’re spending almost $1,042 in additional costs per year in repair bills, Moretti says.
“When you’re driving on rough roads, it’s knocking you around but it’s also beating up your vehicle,” he contends.
And without significant road repairs, the problem is likely to grow worse because of increased traffic.
Since the end of the 2008 recession, “we’re seeing vehicle travel increase four percent,” Moretti says.
Cheh says there will be more money available to fix the roads. Spending increased by roughly 63 percent over the previous year; in the upcoming budget, the council will increase spending by another 63 percent, Cheh says.
“Whether it’s enough, that’s a separate question,” Cheh says.