07 Jul Louisiana Roads Among Nation’s Worst
Driving has always carried risks as people speed across interstates at more than sixty miles per hour. Louisiana, however, appears to have a unique problem as the threat extends not only to fast-paced highways but countryside roads as well. As these streets and infrastructures go unrepaired, authorities struggle to come up with a clear solution, but safety remains a primary goal.
A recent study made by TRIP, a Washington-based transportation research group, revealed Louisiana to be among the top ten states with the most structurally deficient bridges as well as the twelfth highest rate for traffic fatalities on non-interstate roads. Upon closer examination, the study found that up to eighteen percent of Louisiana roads were considered in poor condition with another twenty percent rated in mediocre condition. Regarding the fatality numbers, TRIP recorded approximately 2.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles on rural roads which measures more than double that of the fatality rate on other state roads. From what appears to be a state crisis, TRIP proposes its solution for Louisiana leaders.
The research group essentially encourages the U.S. Congress to produce a “long-term, dedicated, user-based revenue stream” for a federal surface transportation program. While that solution reaches federal proportions, local lawmakers have produced more state-based solutions including raising the state’s gas tax to pay for infrastructure. Still, concerns over the lack of initiative on Louisiana roads continues to grow among citizens, most notably Kenneth Perret, president of the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association. “Until the Louisiana Legislature does its job and adequately funds transportation, these types of reports will only get worse,” Perret stated.
Where it stands now, approximately fifteen percent of countryside bridges in the state of Louisiana is reported to “require rehabilitation, repair or replacement.” Lack of reconstruction of these areas could result in not only the loss of life but a spike in insurance costs as drivers grow wary of their roads. Local American Automobile Association spokesman Don Redman also remarked on the study, believing that the lack of resources and attention not only ignores the problem but “ensures the continuing decline” of the state’s roads. Without adequate action, these problems are not in any position to end anytime soon.
While state officials and Congress members continue to struggle in creating a complex solution, ordinary drivers could benefit from their own actions. By understanding the threat, drivers can focus more attention on safety precautions and proper insurance coverage for more dangerous situations. More importantly, they can spread awareness of the extensive damage to Louisiana roads to promote calls for change among the state’s population. Eventually, authorities and citizens alike will have to confront the broken roads if only for their own lives.