Friday, July 8, 2011
The State of the American Highway System
Over the past few years we have been hearing a lot about the nation's failing infrastructure and how we can not afford to maintain or rebuild it. Well, Zach Rosenberg of "Car and Driver Magazine," paints a very bleak picture of our broken highway system and the challenges to fixing it in, "The State of the Union's Roads: An Investigative Report."
Zach explains that the Interstate Highway System, which is the backbone of the United States four million miles of roads, has reached the end of its useful life. Designed to last only 20-30 years, these roads are pushing 50 years old, and there just isn't the political will and/or the money to replace them.
Rosenberg gives a brief history of the highway system, its funding, and how its role has changed and been used far beyond its capacity. One example Rosenberg cites is the Tampense bridge in New York City, which was designed to handle 18,000 cars a day. It now carries 150,000.
"This is the era of the worn-out highway, of the traffic jam, of endless commutes, of road rage. Beltways and bypasses will not help you. We demand more, far more, than the interstates were built to withstand."
Not a pretty picture.