Better Roads, 24 April 2015
Photo credit: Richard Bauer/barraclou.com
In its recent report on Washington’s transportation challenges, The Road Improvement Program says the state needs $2.8 billion for pavement preservation from now until 2025, but that only $1 billion will be available. As a result, the condition of state-maintained roads would decline drastically.
“Making needed improvements to Washington’s transportation system could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access,” TRIP says.
The current estimate is that 10 percent of state-maintained roads need resurfacing or need to be rebuilt now. By 2025, that is expected to reach 41 percent at the current rate of funding.
“Without substantial and reliable federal, state and local transportation funding, numerous projects to improve the condition, safety and efficiency of Washington’s transportation system will not be able to proceed, hampering the state’s ability to improve the condition and performance of its roads, highways, bridges and transit systems to enhance safety, quality of life and economic development opportunities in the state,” the group says in its report.
TRIP reports 34 percent of the major locally and state-maintained urban roads in Washington are poor condition, 42 percent are in mediocre or fair condition, and 24 percent are in good condition. For rural roads, 22 percent are in poor condition, 52 percent are in mediocre or fair condition, and 26 percent are in good condition.
The state’s bridges need help as well. TRIP says nearly 21 percent of locally- and state-maintained bridges that are 20 feet or longer are functionally obsolete and 5 percent are structural deficient. By 2020, the number of poor-rated bridges across the state may increase to 176 from 137.
“Washington’s bridges form key links in the state’s highway system, providing communities and individuals access to employment, schools, shopping and medical facilities, and facilitating commerce and access for emergency vehicles,” TRIP says. “Due to a lack of sufficient funding, bridge conditions are projected to deteriorate over the next five years.”
The report, including specific roads, bridges, and interchanges needing improvements, is available here.