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Transportation & Infrastructure

Study: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids have some of the worst road conditions in the country

Massive pothole in the middle of a two-lane road.

More than half of Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids' roads are in poor condition, according to a recent study by the transportation research group TRIP. That makes them some of the worst in the nation.

Roads percentages infographic
Credit Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio
Some Michigan cities are fall into the ten worst in the nation for road conditions, relative to their population size. Infographic information from 2015 TRIP research group Study

For cities with populations over 500,000, Detroit ranks fourth for worst roads, and Grand Rapids ranks ninth. For populations between 250,000-500,000 Flint sits in first place, Lansing in 10th, and Ann Arbor in 25th place. 

The study also found that crumbling roads lead to extra costs for drivers. The authors say motorists in Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids pay over $800 in additional annual upkeep because of poor road conditions. Costs are slightly lower in Lansing with drivers paying an extra $733 annual extra vehicle operating cost and Ann Arbor, where drivers pay $571 more.

According to TRIP, road repairs cost the U.S. an annual $109.3 billion, and recommends that transportation agencies use higher-quality paving materials, a preventative measure to save money.  The study's numbers come from Federal Highway Administration data, and compares cities' road conditions and costs across the country. TRIP's report comes as federal funding for transportation runs low, and Michigan lawmakers struggle to find a state-wide road funding solution

Michigan ranks second to last in state per-capita spending on roads, which is why those in charge of patching potholes say using better materials is currently cost prohibitive.

Paula Friedrich, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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