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New Report Details Deteriorating State of Nation’s Rural Roads and Bridges, Rural Fatality Rate Three Times Above Average

September 7, 2011 Comments off

New Report Details Deteriorating State of Nation’s Rural Roads and Bridges, Rural Fatality Rate Three Times Above Average
Source: Associated General Contractors of America

The nation’s rural roads and bridges are rapidly deteriorating, causing the fatality rate along back roads to triple the national average for highway fatalities, according to a new report on rural road conditions released today. The report’s findings prompted members of the business, construction and transportation communities to call for passage of long-delayed federal legislation to fund road repairs and bridge maintenance.

“Employers understand all too well that when rural roads crumble, bridges deteriorate and safety declines, virtually every aspect of the American economy suffers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “The best way to boost our economy, support private sector growth and cut unemployment is to pass a new surface transportation bill.”

The report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” found that the highway fatality rate on the nation’s rural roads was 2.31 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, three times the fatality rate on all other roads. The report also found that 55 percent of the nation’s rural roads were rated poor, mediocre or just fair. And 23 percent of rural bridges were either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The report, which was prepared by TRIP, a national transportation research group, ranked states based on their rural fatality rates, rural road conditions and the state of their rural bridges. It found that South Carolina and Florida had the highest rural road fatality rates. Vermont and Idaho have the highest percentage of rural roads in poor condition. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island lead the nation in the percentage of deficient rural bridges.

+ Full Report (PDF)
+ State-by-State Rankings (PDF)

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