National Report: Half of Wisconsin’s Major Roads are in Poor or Mediocre Condition

Half of Wisconsin’s major roads are in poor or mediocre shape, with Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau roads in the worst condition, according to a national report released Tuesday.

The report, “Wisconsin Transportation by the Numbers” was compiled by TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research group funded by a variety of road-building business interests, including equipment manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, transit engineers and labor unions.

The group used 2016 data the state Department of Transportation provides annually to the Federal Highway Administration in its analysis of road and pavement conditions.

According to that data, 55 percent of Wisconsin’s major locally and state-maintained roads have pavement that is in poor condition and 19 percent in mediocre condition. Milwaukee fares the worst, with poorly rated pavement on 54 percent of the city’s major roads. In Madison, 49 percent of roads have pavement in poor condition, according to federal highway data cited in the report.

The report blames “inadequate state and local funding” for worsening conditions and estimates that drivers in some Wisconsin cities spend nearly $1,000 a year on repairs due to driving their vehicles on deteriorating roads.

“This is yet another report confirming the poor condition of Wisconsin’s roads and the impact on motorists. While people may immediately think about the muffler they had to replace, this report shows that safety and congestion concerns make up a considerable portion of the cost of driving on deficient roads,” said Craig Thompson, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Development Association, which has lobbied for more state road funding.