The States with the Highest and Lowest Quality Roads in the United States

No matter where you live, bellyaching about potholes and road quality is an American tradition. It’s not hard to find people in every state who claim their roads are the worst, but Pennsylvania personal injury firm Munley Law recently studied data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics to determine which have the highest average rates of acceptable road quality.

Bad roads aren’t just an annoyance. They can wreak havoc on tires, suspension systems, and can cause vibrations that loosen cosmetic components. With 94.78 percent of its roads meeting the acceptable quality standard, Idaho was found to have the best roads in the country. Georgia wasn’t far behind, with 94.5 percent, and Tennessee came in third at 94.17. The complete list appears below.

The states with the best roads likely invest more in highway maintenance. Tennessee, for example, funds its highway improvements with vehicle excise taxes, and the burden of paying for roadwork is shared by federal, state, and local governments. The state has managed to go 45 years without needing to borrow money for road construction, indicating that its funding is stable and robust. Of course, there are exceptions in every state, such as my hometown of Knoxville; Tennessee’s roads have seen better days, despite I-40 seemingly being under construction since the early 1980s when I was born.

On the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey had the worst roads, with just 50.71 percent meeting the standard. Rhode Island had 51.51 percent and Connecticut landed at 58.14 percent. The law firm blames heavy traffic and bad weather, saying they contribute heavily to potholes and deteriorating road surfaces in those Northeast states.

Ranking states with the best and worst roads:

State  Avg. % of acceptable roads 
Idaho  94.78 

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