More than half of all Milwaukee area roads and highways are in “mediocre to poor” condition, and accelerated vehicle deterioration caused by bumpy driving conditions costs each local driver an average of $861 each year, a study found.
TRIP, a national nonprofit that studies surface transportation issues, released a report on the condition of Wisconsin roads Thursday morning that estimated poor state infrastructure costs motorists $6 billion a year in congestion-related delays, crashes and vehicle repairs.
“The rate of population and economic growth in Wisconsin have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system,” the study reads. “A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in more than two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in Wisconsin having pavement surfaces in mediocre to poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.”
In addition, the study took a look at the state’s bridges and found 14 showed significant deterioration and didn’t meet modern design standards — 9 percent of bridges were found to be “structurally deficient,” meaning they may not be able to accommodate heavy trucks and vehicles, and 5 percent were declared “functionally obsolete,” meaning they did not include adequate safety features.
In the Milwaukee area, 6 percent of bridges (54) were structurally deficient and 24 percent (213) were categorized as structurally obsolete.
Poor infrastructure and inadequate safety features contributed to around one-third of the state’s traffic deaths and serious crashes from 2014 to 2015, the study estimated.
“Improving safety features on Wisconsin’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes,” the study reads.