Illinois Roads Compared with Other State

From The Center Square:

New report ranks Illinois’ state-run roads among nation’s worst

(The Center Square) – A new report puts the cost and condition of Illinois’ state-run roads near the worst in the country.

The 25th Annual Highway Report, compiled by The Reason Foundation, looks at state highways in 13 different categories, including pavement condition, traffic congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending per mile.

2012 construction on Route 31 and Klasen Road.

The organization’s placed Illinois at 37th overall, behind all neighboring states, including second-ranked Missouri.

“It might be beneficial for Illinois DOT folks and Illinois leaders to speak with their counterparts in Missouri and see why they’re able to, for example, maintain a roadway at a cost as much lower as Illinois,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation.

“Ask how they’re able to get such smooth pavement.”

Illinois ranks 32nd in structurally deficient bridges, 32nd in urban interstate pavement condition, and 42nd in capital and bridge costs per mile. Its worst category performance was traffic congestion, ranking 49th.

Feigenbaum said there’s not much room for new capacity to deal with that congestion in the Chicago area, but advises that leaders could become creative in their thinking.

“We’ve seen a lot of states going to pricing, where they’ll add new capacity and they will take a lane, or they’ll convert their high occupancy vehicle lane, to create a toll lane,” Feigenbaum said. “Pricing is good because it gives folks a guaranteed travel option if they need to get somewhere on time.”

Illinois’ annual battle with ice and snow appears to be no excuse for its performance.

This day, it took 30 minutes to get from Route 25 to Route 31 in Algonquin. The surface was bumpy ice.

“In terms of weather, it does not seem to be a factor because the No. 1 state this year is actually is North Dakota,” Feigenbaum said. “They have a very active freeze-frost cycle with a lot of cold weather and a lot of extremes.”

One bright spot is the relative safety found on roadways across Illinois. The state ranked 15th in overall fatality rate, 16th in rural fatality rate, and 22nd in urban fatality rate.

“We tend to see a higher fatality rates in states with higher speed limits because higher speeds can lead to accidents that have more fatalities,” Feigenbaum said. “Illinois does have some rural areas and the fact that the road fatality rate there is 16th is still pretty good. This is overall a positive story and something that the state should want to continue.”

Illinois’ state-controlled highway system is the 14th largest in the county. Feigenbaum said it wouldn’t take much effort to make a big difference for drivers.


Illinois Roads Compared with Other State — 12 Comments

  1. Illinois is also in second place for number of interstate highways in the state with only Pennsylvania having more.

    I drove a truck through every state and Illinois roads are some of the worst by far.

    Best roads are Florida and probably Tennessee.

  2. Wisconsin has had a good road system for decades.

    The highway and road planners anticipate very well the need for bridges, extra lanes, turn lanes, etc to handle population growth, business expansion, increase in vehicle miles.

    Unlike Illinois where more often than not, improvements are many, many years late or not at all.

  3. In Wisconsin in the early 1980’s, county government was in charge of all the roads, including Interstates.

    If roads were bad, the local county board member was the one who got the complaints…not some anonymous bureaucrats in Schaumburg or Springfield.

  4. No surprise here… yet they keep sucking us dry of funds… and stealing of course.. right outta the coffers… and whoo gets the shaft yep the common whats left tax paying man

  5. “No. 1 state this year is actually is North Dakota,” Feigenbaum said. “They have a very active freeze-frost cycle with a lot of cold weather and a lot of extremes.”

    I would say that statement is incorrect, most roads once frozen north of Elkhorn Wis tend to stay frozen all winter, where here in the worst part of the Salt belt, freeze thaw is way more common.

    While most northern states are in the Salt belt, meaning salt is used on roads, the center of the most usage of salt runs from maybe Iowa City to most of Pennsylvania.

    Elkhorn north to around Bloomington IL south.

    Add in higher traffic counts, Chicago area, Detroit area, all the way to Philly, and every thing in between.

    Farther west they use less salt, father east the Great Lakes and Atlantic effect the weather more.

    People around here want dry pavement to drive on year round, and they start whining big time when the pavement turns white.

    Our road costs in Northern IL are in direct relation to the freeze thaw and how much salt is used to try and make the whiners happy.

  6. In North Dakota and many other super cold states they actually don’t use salt like we do here. There chemically treat the road with a liquid solution, sometimes a day or two before the storm. It’s actually quite strange if you are not used to it because it can be – 10 out and the roads are wet but no ice.

  7. New shocks and struts tell the story of roads around here—not so much Interstates, but County, State and Local—potholes.

  8. Worst state for snow removal is Indiana. God help you if you are ever stuck in a snow storm heading down 65 towards Indy. You would think they have two snowplows for the entire state.

  9. Illinois is bad, but Wisconsin???

    I nearly lost an axel on a Wisconsin “road” last week.

    And Indiana will soon only be accessible by ATV or tank treads…

  10. I believe the chemical is magnesium chloride, still a salt but effective at much lower temperatures.

    I’ve been told they mix beet juice in to help it stay there.

    It works really well that’s for sure but just feels wrong to be driving 70 on a shiny wet road when it’s subzero outside.

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