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South Dakota City Roads in 4th-Worst Shape in Nation

…or maybe Governor Kristi Noem is hoarding all that coronavirus money until she figures out a way to spend it to fix our roads.

Faithful commenter Debbo notices a Bloomberg article that finds South Dakota ties with Hawaii for the fourth-highest percentage of bad urban roads in the nation:

Breanna T. Badham, "America's Streets Are Getting Rougher," Bloomberg, updated 2020.08.21.
Breanna T. Badham, “America’s Streets Are Getting Rougher,” Bloomberg, updated 2020.08.21.

According to online car dealer Copilot (wait—why am I looking at research from people who sell cars?), 26% of America’s major urban roads are in poor shape. Over in Minnesota, where zipper-merging Twin Cities motor car enthusiasts would laugh at South Dakota’s claim to have any urban roads, only 16.4% of urban roads are in poor condition. That puts Minnesota at 36th in the nation.

South Dakota keeps I-29 and I-90 in remarkably good shape—only 3% of our urban Interstate mileage is in poor condition. But we’ve let 24% of our major urban arterials and 48% of our minor urban arterials go to heck. Sioux Falls has the 16th-highest percentage of poor roads out of small cities (100K to 350K) and is 31st-worst out of 291 cities over 100K.

Interestingly, CoPilot reports that the percentage of urban roads in poor condition correlates negatively with both miles per day traveled and miles of road per person. Counterintuitively, roads are in better shape in cities where people drive more and where there are more roads per resident/taxpayer to maintain. More wear and tear, more miles to maintain, but better road conditions? I’ve got no explanation for that one!


  1. cibvet 2020-08-24 23:57

    Sure we’re in fourth place now, but we’ll get to first. No doubt in my mind.

  2. buckobear 2020-08-25 15:39

    Maybe we can get a ranking of our “cities.”

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