Tag Archive for 'bridges'

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TRIP Report: Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother

Nation’s urban roads are increasingly deteriorated, costing drivers as much as $800 each year. Road conditions expected to decline further if federal and state lawmakers fail to act. Federal funding for region’s highways set to be slashed in October 2014 unless congress approves additional revenues.

Rank

Urban Area

VOC

Rank

Urban Area

Poor

1

LA–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA

 $832

1

LA–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA

64%

2

Tulsa, OK

 $784

2

San Francisco—Oakland, CA

60%

3

San Francisco—Oakland, CA

 $782

3

San Jose, CA

56%

4

Oklahoma City, OK

 $782

4

San Diego, CA

55%

5

San Diego, CA

 $758

5

Tucson,  AZ

53%

6

San Jose, CA

 $737

6

New York, NY — Newark, NJ

51%

7

Tucson, AZ

 $723

7

Bridgeport—Stamford, CT

51%

8

Milwaukee, WI

 $700

8

Milwaukee, WI

48%

9

New Orleans, LA

 $687

9

New Orleans, LA

47%

10

New York, NY –Newark, NJ

 $673

10

Oklahoma City, OK

47%

11

Bridgeport—Stamford, CT

 $669

11

Tulsa, OK

46%

12

Sacramento, CA

 $658

12

Seattle, WA

45%

13

Riverside–San Bernardino, CA

 $638

13

Honolulu, HI

43%

14

Seattle, WA

 $625

14

Sacramento, CA

43%

15

Concord, CA

 $623

15

Concord, CA

42%

16

Denver—Aurora, CO

 $615

16

New Haven, CT

42%

17

Dallas–Fort Worth –Arlington, TX

 $615

17

Riverside–San Bernardino, CA

39%

18

Birmingham, AL

 $601

18

Springfield, MA

39%

19

Honolulu, HI

 $598

19

Boston, MA

39%

20

Colorado Springs, CO

 $589

20

Hartford, CT

38%

 

The TRIP report contains pavement condition data and driver costs for U.S. urban areas with a population of 250,000 or greater.

 

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads– Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average urban driver $377 annually, a total of $80 billion nationwide.  In some areas, driving on deteriorated roadways costs the average driver more than $800 each year. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding and economic development. Additional pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 250,000 or greater can be found in the full report and appendices. The chart below details the 20 large cities (500,000+ population) with the highest percentage of pavements in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating cost.

 

The chart below details the 20 mid-sized urban areas (250,000 to 500,000 in population) with the highest percentage of pavements in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating cost.

Rank Urban Area VOC Rank Urban Area Poor
1 Antioch, CA $793 1 Antioch, CA 64%
2 Reno, NV $771 2 Reno, NV 55%
3 Jackson, MS $741 3 Santa Rosa, CA 51%
4 Hemet, CA $738 4 Trenton, NJ 48%
5 Santa Rosa, CA $709 5 Hemet, CA 48%
6 Temecula-Murrieta, CA $664 6 Spokane, WA 45%
7 Trenton, NJ $636 7 Jackson, MS 45%
8 Spokane, WA $619 8 Temecula-Murrieta 43%
9 Madison, WI $615 9 Worcester, MA 41%
10 Corpus Christi, TX $614 10 Stockton, CA 40%
11 Worcester, MA $600 11 Corpus Christi, TX 40%
12 Des Moines, IA $591 12 Des Moines, IA 38%
13 Stockton, CA $584 13 Madison, WI 37%
14 Baton Rouge, LA $581 14 South Bend, IN 34%
15 Modesto, CA $560 15 Davenport, IA 34%
16 Shreveport, LA $549 16 Baton Rouge, LA 32%
17 Davenport, IA $548 17 Scranton, PA 32%
18 Scranton, PA $539 18 Fort Wayne, IN 32%
19 Oxnard, CA $534 19 Modesto, CA 31%
20 Fort Wayne, IN $530 20 Anchorage, AK 29%

 

Pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current funding by all levels of government. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the amount needed to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall to make significant improvements to roadway conditions.

A 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation report found that the nation would need to increase annual funding for road and highway improvements by 21 percent to keep them in their current condition, by 51 percent to make a modest improvement in overall conditions and by 91 percent to make significant improvement to their condition.

“States depend on investment from the Highway Trust Fund to help preserve and maintain the roads and bridges that carry our families and our economy. We cannot continue to ignore the very real crisis facing our national transportation system without a long-term, sustainable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Federal dollars are a key source of transportation funding in many states.   But the lack of adequate funding beyond the expiration of the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) federal surface transportation legislation on September 30, 2014, threatens the future condition and performance of the nation’s roads and highways. In the fall of 2014, nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut back by almost 100 percent from the current $40 billion investment level unless additional revenues are provided to the federal Highway Trust Fund. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Making improvements to the transportation system can have a significant economic impact. A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

“With state and local governments struggling to fund needed road repairs and with federal surface transportation funding set to be slashed next year, road conditions are projected to get even worse,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.  “Congress could reduce the extra costs borne by motorists driving on rough roads by approving funding that will support a federal transportation program that improves road conditions on the nation’s major roads and highways.”

Executive Summary

These days, potholes and pavement deterioration make it a challenge to keep the wheel steady on America’s roads and highways. More than a quarter of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition.  These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 78 percent of the approximately 2 trillion miles driven annually in urban America.

With state and local governments unable to adequately fund road repairs and with the current federal surface transportation program set to expire on September 30, 2014, road conditions could get even worse in the future.

In this report, TRIP examines the condition of the nation’s major urban roads, including pavement condition data for America’s most populous urban areas, recent trends in travel, the latest developments in repairing roads and building them to last longer, and the funding levels needed to adequately address America’s deteriorated roadways.

For the purposes of this report, an urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.  Pavement condition data are the latest available and are derived from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2011 annual survey of state transportation officials on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways, based on a uniform pavement rating index.  The pavement rating index measures the level of smoothness of pavement surfaces, supplying information on the ride quality provided by road and highway surfaces.  The major findings of the TRIP report are:

More than a quarter of the nation’s major urban roads are rated in substandard or poor condition, providing motorists with a rough ride and increasing the cost of operating a vehicle. 

  • More than one-quarter (27 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists.
  • An additional 27 percent of the nation’s major urban roads and highways have pavements that are in mediocre condition, 15 percent are in fair condition and 31 percent are in good condition.
  • Including major rural roads, 14 percent of the nation’s major roads are in poor condition, 19 percent are in mediocre condition, 17 percent are in fair condition and 50 percent are in good condition.
  • The twenty urban regions with a population of 500,000 or greater with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

• The twenty urban regions with a population between 250,000 and  500,000 with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are: California’s Roads and Bridges:

  • An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.
  • A listing of road conditions for each urban area with a population of 500,000 or more can be found in Appendix A. Pavement condition data for urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix B.
  • The average motorist in the U.S. is losing $377 annually –$80 billion nationally –in additional vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair.  Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance and requiring additional fuel consumption.
  • The twenty urban regions with at least 500,000 people, where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor condition are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • • The twenty urban regions with a population between 250,000 and 500,000  where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor condition are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

• A listing of additional vehicle operating costs due to driving on roads in substandard condition for urban areas with populations over 500,000 can be found in Appendix C. Additional vehicle operating costs for urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix D.

Significant increases in travel in the years ahead will put additional stress on roads and make it even more costly to improve and maintain them.

  • Overall vehicle travel increased by 37 percent from 1990 to 2011.  Travel by large commercial trucks grew at an even faster rate, increasing by 49 percent from 1990 to 2011.  Large trucks place significant stress on road surfaces.
  • Vehicle travel is expected to increase approximately 25 percent by 2030, and the level of heavy truck travel nationally is anticipated to increase by approximately 64 percent by 2030, putting greater stress on our nation’s roadways.

Pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current funding by all levels of government. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the cost to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall in the cost to make significant improvements to roadway conditions.

  • A 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) study prepared for Congress found that road and highway pavement conditions are likely to worsen at current funding levels, largely because numerous roadways currently or soon will require significant rehabilitation or reconstruction to extend their service life.
  • All levels of government (local, state and federal) are currently spending $36.5 billion annually on the rehabilitation and preservation of the physical condition of roads and highways (excluding bridge repairs).
  • The DOT study estimates that the annual investment needed to maintain roads and highways (excluding bridges) in their current condition is $44.3 billion annually -a 21 percent increase from current levels of annual funding.
  • The DOT study estimates that the annual investment needed to make a modest improvement in the condition of roads and highways (excluding bridges) is $55.2 billion annually -a 51 percent increase in annual funding.
  • Needed annual investment to significantly improve the condition of roads and highways (excluding bridges) is $70 billion annually -a 91 percent increase in annual funding.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for road and highway repairs.  But the lack of adequate funding beyond the expiration of the current federal surface transportation program, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), which expires on September 30, 2014, threatens the future condition of the nation’s roads and highways.

  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 will provide approximately $38 billion annually for road, highway and bridge improvements annually in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
  • The MAP-21 program, approved by Congress in 2012, greatly increased funding flexibility for states and streamlined project approval processes to improve the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements.
  • MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment. Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut back by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Projects to improve the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges could boost the nation’s economic growth by providing significant short-and long-term economic benefits.

  • Highway preservation projects provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carrying abilities and safety, and by reducing operating costs for people and businesses.  Roadway repairs also extend the service life of a road, highway or bridge, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Transportation agencies can reduce pavement life cycle costs by adopting a pavement preservation approach that emphasizes making early initial repairs to pavement surfaces while they are still in good condition and using higher-quality paving materials, reducing the cost of keeping roads smooth by delaying the need for costly reconstruction.

  • There are five life-cycle stages of a paved surface:  design, construction, initial deterioration, visible deterioration and pavement disintegration and failure.
  • A 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that an over­reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.
  • The 2010 Federal Highway Administration report warned that transportation agencies that focus only on current pavement surface conditions will eventually face a highway network with an overwhelming backlog of pavement rehabilitation and replacement needs.
  • A preventive maintenance approach to keeping pavements in good condition has been found to reduce overall pavement life cycle costs by approximately one-third over a 25-year period.
  • Initial pavement preservation can only be done on road surfaces that are structurally sound.  Roads that have significant deterioration must be maintained with surface repairs until sufficient funds are available to reconstruct the road, at which time a pavement preservation strategy can be adopted.
  • The use of thicker pavements and more durable designs and materials for a particular roadway are being used to increase the life span of road and highway surfaces and delay the need for significant repairs.  These new pavements include high performance concrete pavements and perpetual hot mix asphalt pavements.

Adequate funding would allow transportation agencies to adopt the following recommendations for insuring a smooth ride.

  • Implement and adequately fund a pavement preservation program that performs initial maintenance on road surfaces while they are still in good condition, postponing the need for significant rehabilitation.
  • Consider using pavement materials and designs that will provide a longer-lasting surface when critical routes are constructed or reconstructed.
  • Resurface roads in a timely fashion using pavement materials that are designed to be the most durable, given local climate and the level and mix of traffic on the road.
  • Invest adequately to insure that 75 percent of local road surfaces are in good condition.

All data used in the report are the latest available. Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the AAA, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Transportation Research Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

CASE CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT BRINGS DIRE STATES ROAD TOUR TO COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE TO SPUR ACTION ON AGING INFRASTRUCTURE

Award-winning author Dan McNichol headlines tour to raise awareness and identify solutions for America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Dan McNichol and the '49 Hudson News ReleaseCASE Construction Equipment has partnered with award-winning author and infrastructure expert Dan McNichol to tour the United States and bring awareness to the challenges facing the nation’s aging infrastructure. The tour — titled Dire States: The Drive to Revive America’s Ailing Infrastructure — will make stops at CASE dealers throughout the U.S. and bring together citizens, government officials and construction professionals to build a community dedicated to advancing infrastructure-related projects. The primary focus in bringing these groups together is to identify new and innovative ways to spur the growth and development of American infrastructure, and to showcase projects and communities that are already succeeding at it.

The tour will be documented heavily on the Web at DireStates.com, CASECE.com and through related social media channels.

“The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives our nation’s infrastructure a grade of D+ and estimates a needed investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020,” says McNichol. “America’s infrastructure is in trouble, and it’s not something we can gloss over when we see it on the nightly news. We’re going to barnstorm this country in an old and beat-down 1949 Hudson that is the perfect metaphor for our current infrastructure: it’s as old, rusty and energy defunct as our vital systems. Depending on this old car to get you to work everyday is as foolish as depending on our current systems for everything we need to function as a society.”

“Dan brings a sharp and informed voice to the discussion on America’s infrastructure,” says Jim Hasler, vice president, CASE Construction Equipment — North America. “Infrastructure plays a vital role in our quality of life, getting from one place to another safely and advancing the economic stability of the entire country. We are a nation that is still standing on the edge of a fragile recovery, and finding ways to move these projects forward will help create jobs and spur economic development and prosperity.”

The tour kicks off with a series of events in Massachusetts, will include stops at CASE dealers throughout the country, and will culminate with an event in March, 2014 at ConExpo in Las Vegas — one of the world’s largest construction industry trade events. McNichol is expected to bring the tour to more than 20 CASE dealerships throughout the U.S.

“Sitting and waiting for the problem to get better isn’t going to work,” says McNichol. “Through this tour we will bring to light the hidden incremental cost of continuing to Band-Aid our infrastructure. We will build a community of professionals and thought leaders to redefine the expectations of what our infrastructure can be and establish new paths forward. Our country has stood behind infrastructure in the past through widespread project development and it has always led to economic growth. This, almost more than any other issue facing us today, is what we should be focusing on domestically.”

For more information on the tour and an updated list of dates and events, visit www.DireStates.com. Learn more about Dan McNichol at www.DanMcNichol.com. For additional information about CASE Construction Equipment, visit www.casece.com.

Potholes, Sinkholes and Bridges

Greg Sitek

Greg Sitek

Note: This editorial appeared in the August issues of the ACP magazines

Not long ago I was driving down a major road going from home to the gym when I hit a pothole. The impact jarred my GPS loose from its window mount; my teeth rattled; my head hit the roof of the car and I expected the right front tire to go flat. It didn’t. I pulled over, got out and inspected the wheel for damage. I wasn’t disappointed. There was a serious dent in the cast aluminum rim. No air was leaking out so I drove back home and the following morning took the car to my local dealer.

They were as amazed as I was that the tire hadn’t started to leak. After careful inspection they decided that it really wasn’t safe to continue using so swapped with the donut spare.

My service rep said that she had had a similar experience recently without the extensive rim damage I had sustained. Due to the price of the replacement rim she decided to use it since it wasn’t a safety hazard.

While the inspection and swap were being made I sat in the customer longue and wouldn’t you know it, the newscaster made a public service announcement cautioning drivers to be aware of serious pothole hazards. The report said that potholes were growing faster than they could be repaired. No big surprise.

When I got called back to the service desk my service advisor informed me that my rim was unfit for continued service; that the mini-spare was mounted and ready to roll; that the tire had survived damage and lived to roll again on a new rim; and that this experience was going to cost me $496.86 for the rim, plus labor, plus alignment. To rub salt into the economic wound, the rim had to be ordered and would arrive in a couple of days. So much for living in the Motor City area.

The days went by with me driving around on my mini-spare. Finally, I go a phone call and my service advisor said, “You’re not going to believe this but the new rim did come in … bent.”

Bent?” I repeated.

“Bent,” she said, “but I have ordered a new one to be sent to us overnight. No. Don’t panic. There won’t be any additional costs. This was the rim manufacturer’s fault.”

The next day I got another call and my service advisor, who by now has become a good friend, said, “The new rim is here. I checked it and it’s perfect so you can come in and we’ll finish the installation, inspection and alignment.”

We, the car and I, went in and waited while the tire was mounted on the new rim then on the car and the inspection and alignment completed. Fortunately the car didn’t suffer any undercarriage damage.

The pothole is still there waiting to devour another unsuspecting rim.

This experience taught me to avoid potholes whenever I could but it also reminded me that roads, not only the ones near my home, are in a state of continued deterioration. The economic crisis that has spanned the last couple of years has taken its toll in accelerated infrastructure wear.

Bridge failures continue, as do other infrastructure catastrophes like the recent water system problems in the Baltimore area. I was still brooding over my pothole escapade when I came across this article on sinkholes. Ha, and I thought I had it bad…

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/07/sinkholes-when-the-earth-opens-up/100552/

Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up

The ground beneath our feet, our cars, our buildings, appears to be incredibly solid. But, rarely, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever was above into an unpredictably deep hole. Sinkholes can be anywhere from a few feet wide and deep, to two thousand feet in diameter and depth. An undiscovered cavern or deep mine can collapse, allowing the ground above to crater, or a broken water main or heavy storm can erode a hole from below, until the surface becomes a thin shell that collapses at once. Communities built atop karst formations are very susceptible, where a layer of bedrock is water-soluble, like limestone, and natural processes can wear away caves and fissures, weakening support of the ground above. Gathered here are images of some of these sinkholes, both man-made and natural, around the world.

Of the 28 sinkholes shown from around the world, eight of them are or were here in the United States: Toledo, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Antonio, Winter Park Florida, San Diego, Mulberry Florida and Seffner Florida. Makes you wonder about buying property in Florida…

Some of these are the result of human intervention some catastrophic contributions from nature. The important point to remember, besides “Watch Out For Potholes,” is that we need to emphasize the importance of maintaining and updating our infrastructure to the people who represent us in our local, state and federal governments. Next year the federal gas tax expires. If it doesn’t get reenacted our pothole crisis will increase as will sinkhole incidents and bridge failures.In case you missed it, you may want to use the MSN Bridge Tracker and

Check the safety of bridges you cross

The map in the article shows the condition and inspection dates for more than 100,000 bridges in the U.S. that are crossed by at least 10,000 vehicles per day. The records come from the latest National Bridge Inventory, as analyzed by msnbc.com. Inspections through 2006 are included. Only bridges, on/off ramps and overpasses within .2 miles of your chosen route are shown. The locations were provided by state departments of transportation. Some states are more accurate than others in mapping their bridges.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21840922

For the full story on bridge inspections, go to http://bridges.msnbc.com.

Meanwhile, travel safely; watch out for potholes, sinkholes and crumbling bridges.

Greg Sitek

TRIP Reports: The Top 50 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico

TRIPNew Report Identifies New Mexico’s 50 Most Needed Transportation Projects For Economic Growth; Projects Would Improve, Modernize And Expand Road And Transit Systems To Support And Grow The State’s Economy

In order to adequately support New Mexico’s existing industries and provide for additional economic growth, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

TRIP’s report, “The Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide New Mexico with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state.  The most needed surface transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, projects to improve rail or public transportation, and multi-modal projects. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

According to the TRIP report, the most needed projects for the state’s economic growth are as follows

1.     US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti

2.     Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park.

3.     Reconstruction of I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges.

4.     Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington.

5.     Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges.

6.     Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola.

7.     Construction of Central Corridor Bus Rapid Transit in Albuquerque.

8.     Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges.

9.     Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington.

10.  Construction of a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 in Valencia County.

A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report. TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

“New Mexico’s highways and bridges form a vital statewide transportation network, which is essential not only in supporting a healthy economy for our state, but also in providing safe, reliable access to homes, schools, healthcare, shopping and recreation,” said Mike Beck, executive director of the Associated Contractors of New Mexico.  “In order to protect the investment already made in our surface transportation system, we must not fall behind in our efforts to enhance and expand that system.”

Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s surface transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors.

Sustaining New Mexico’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s surface transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Increasing investment in New Mexico’s transportation network of roads, bridges and transit is vital to boosting the state’s economy and the quality of life of its residents,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “In the short term, transportation investment creates good jobs, but the long-term benefits of an efficient transportation system connecting New Mexico’s residents, communities and businesses can span generations. If state and federal lawmakers fail to provide adequate transportation funding, New Mexico and the nation will lose their competitive edge and the state’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and gridlocked.”

Executive Summary

New Mexico’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry.  The state’s roads, highways, rails and public transit systems remain the backbone of the Land of Enchantment’s economy.  New Mexico’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit.  The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in New Mexico’s ability to capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the demands of the 21st Century

To achieve sustainable economic growth, New Mexico must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges, highways and transit systems.  Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in New Mexico and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth.  Sources of data include the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified the 50 transportation projects that are most needed to support New Mexico’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

  • The most needed transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems throughout the state.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP evaluated each transportation project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • New Mexico’s 10 most needed transportation projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. A list of the top 50 needed projects and descriptions can be found in the appendix.
  • 11.  US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti. This $89 million project would widen the remaining 26.8 miles of two-lane roadway to four- lanes. US 491 is the only feasible north-south corridor in the region that will support heavy truck traffic. Completion of this project would allow for more efficient transport of coal, oil and other goods, while enhancing safety and boosting tourism.
  • 12.  Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park. This $40 million project would reconstruct a four-mile portion of US 64 to provide additional capacity and access management. This project will provide additional capacity and increased safety resulting in improved transportation and economic opportunities in the region.
  • 13.  Reconstruction of the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. This $200 million project would eliminate the S-curve on I-25 and reconstruct the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. Completion of this project will improve mobility in the area and enhance access to and from the area to the Interstate system.
  • 14.  Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington. This $95 million project would construct two additional lanes to make a four-lane facility from Artesia to Lovington. Completion of this project will accommodate the increased traffic due to the oil and gas industry in southeastern New Mexico.
  • 15.  Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges. This $125 million project would reconstruct the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio Interchanges on I-25 to alleviate congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 16.  Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola. This $70 million project would reconstruct 35 miles of NM 68 to four lanes, with auxiliary lanes along two-lane sections. This corridor serves commuter and recreational traffic in the region. Completion of the project would address operation and safety concerns.
  • 17.  Construction of a Bus Rapid Transit system in the Central Corridor in Albuquerque. This project would construct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along the Central Corridor in Albuquerque, from I-40 and Tramway Boulevard to I-40 and Atrisco Vista. This would include a combination of dedicated busway and mixed flow lanes within the current right-of-way. Central Avenue is a key connector of transit destinations and serves a large part of the transit-dependent population of the city. The institution of a BRT system would create more timely and dependable transit options and would assist in redevelopment of the vacant or underused land along the Corridor.
  • 18.  Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges. This $50 million project would add a third lane to five miles of I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges to address congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 19.  Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington. This $22 million extension of Pinon Hills Boulevard would create a new river crossing and connect the retail district along East Main St to the developing area of unincorporated San Juan County east of the river.  This connection would reduce out-of-direction travel that motorists currently experience.  This road extension would help alleviate traffic volumes on the two nearest river crossings at Browning Pkwy and CR 350.
  • 20.  Construction of a new river crossing in Los Lunas from I-25 to NM 47. This $60 million project would construct a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 to improve mobility in Valencia County, provide for economic development and ease congestion in the area.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a roadway provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.  Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,400 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

While New Mexico’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

  • From 1990 to 2012, New Mexico’s population increased by 38 percent, from approximately 1.5 million to approximately 2.1 million.
  • From 1990 to 2011, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 58 percent, from approximately 16.1 billion VMT to 25.5 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in New Mexico will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • New Mexico’s unemployment rate nearly doubled from 3.5 percent in July 2007 to 6.9 percent in July 2013. New Mexico’s current unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 7.4 percent in July 2013.
  • New Mexico has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: oil and gas production, tourism, agriculture, and film and television production.

New Mexico’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies and experiences severe congestion in key areas.  Roads carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

  • New Mexico’s system of 68,384 miles of roads and 3,924 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 25.5 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Twenty-four percent of New Mexico’s major roads are deficient, with nine percent rated in poor condition and an additional 15 percent rated mediocre in 2011.  An additional 11 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 65 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Eight percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2012.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Every year, approximately $31.4 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in New Mexico and another $46.6 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in New Mexico, mostly by truck.
  • In 2012, nine percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Sixty-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Mexico are carried by trucks and another 18 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service, courier services or by multiple modes, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Sources of data for this report include the , the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues.  TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.

Steel Group Lauds Senate Passage Of Bridge Amendment

UnknownThe American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) today applauded the Senate passage of an amendment to ensure that bridges most in need of repair are fixed ahead of any others. The measure, introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), calls for bridges that have been classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as “functionally obsolete” or “structurally deficient” to receive priority consideration for new federal bridge funding under the $500 million “Bridges in Critical Corridors” fund.  The new program is included in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, said, “Our nation’s infrastructure needs are at critical mass. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, nearly 25 percent of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and our deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure could cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs.  Investments in surface transportation directly impact the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, especially by increasing demand for steel fabricated products which creates valuable steel jobs.  Senator Portman’s amendment will help address this serious national concern and put critical bridge repair funds where they are needed most.”