A list that ranks the worst street systems in the country includes two cities in Iowa. A national transportation research group is calling the condition of Des Moines’ street system the eighth worst in the nation among small cities. The Washington, D.C.-based group that goes by the acronym TRIP (the Road Information Program) estimates more than 40% of the Des Moines’ roads are in poor shape.
Des Moines Public Works Director Bill Stowe says it’s a challenge to keep up with an aging road system during tight budget times. “We’re an older city with a fairly significant amount of streets. We have 2,200 lane miles of streets in Des Moines,” Stowe said. “At the same time, we’re also experiencing a downturn in our financial commitment to that.”
The TRIP report claims drivers in Des Moines pay an extra $543 a year in vehicle maintenance costs because they travel over pothole filled streets. “There is a point where the rate of deterioration accelerates and you can reverse that by investment, but for financial reasons we have not put in the amount of money necessary to not only to maintain the ratings, but we’ve actually seen a decline,” Stowe said.
TRIP used the Federal Highway Administration’s 2008 survey of state transportation officials to reach its findings.
Davenport also made the TRIP list of smaller cities with roads in bad condition, coming in at number 11. Antioch, California is ranked first on the list of cities with populations between 250,000 and 500,000.