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Honolulu is 5th worst for road condition, report says

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / DEC. 2014

    Workers surveyed a sinkhole in the middle of Kalanianaole Highway, near Mekia Street, in Waimanalo. Honolulu ranked No. 5 on a “Top 20” large, urban areas across the U.S. with the highest share of major roads and highways in poor condition, according to a report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C.

Honolulu ranked No. 5 on a “Top 20” list of large, urban areas across the U.S. with the highest share of major roads and highways in poor condition, according to a report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C.

More than half, or 54 percent, of Honolulu’s major roads and highways are in poor condition, according to TRIP in its report, “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother.” The report examines pavement conditions, vehicle operating costs and transportation funding in mid- and large-sized urban areas across the U.S.

San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., took the top spot in the ranking, with 71 percent of its roads and highways in poor condition, followed by San Jose, Calif., with 64 percent, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., with 57 percent, and Milwaukee, Wisc., with 54 percent. The report defined “large, urban areas,” as ones with populations of 500,000 or greater.

TRIP also ranked Honolulu No. 8 highest in large, urban areas with the highest annual vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair. The average vehicle operating cost in Honolulu came in at $851.

“Drivers are paying a hefty price for our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA senior vice president of public affairs and international relations, in a news release. “Those traveling daily through urban cities bear the weight of the problem — with many wasting thousands of dollars each year on rising transportation costs due to potholes and wasted fuel. AAA urges Congress and the current administration to prioritize transportation infrastructure improvements to ensure safe, efficient and reliable mobility across the United States.”

Roughly one-third (33 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – including freeways and other arterial routes – had pavements that were in substandard condition and provided an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average driver $599 annually, according to TRIP.

TRIP warned that road conditions could deteriorate further as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase, while local and state governments find themselves unable to adequately fund road repairs. Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, TRIP warned.

In a summary of strategies for smoother roads, TRIP recommended the use of improved pavement materials and construction practices, even if the initial cost is higher, as well as early preservation treatments. It also found patching potholes with higher grades of material can offset savings of using cheaper materials that result in the need to repatch them over and over in the long run.

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