Hey, Jon, Kristi: how about spending “the Biden bucks” on fixing South Dakota’s roads? Todd Epp notices a Consumer Affairs survey of drivers and review of government reports that finds South Dakota’s roads rating sixth-worst in the nation:
ConsumerAffairs recently published an analysis of which states have the worst (and best) roads of 2021.
This holiday season, drivers traveling through Rhode Island, Hawaii, Wisconsin, California, Massachusetts, South Dakota, New Jersey, Louisiana, Michigan and New York are in for the bumpiest rides. Weather conditions and low infrastructure budgets have led to potholed and hazardous roads in these states, according to the new study.
Those traveling through the Midwest, Upper Great Plains and South — particularly Kansas, Alabama, North Dakota, Kentucky, Florida and Idaho — should experience smoother travel than road warriors in parts of the Northeast [Todd Epp, “Survey: South Dakota Ranks as the #6 Worst Roads in the U.S.,” KELO Radio, 2021.12.21].
In its brief on South Dakota’s rough roads, Consumer Affairs says bad transportation infrastructure costs each South Dakota driver $562 a year in additional repairs. Consumer Affairs also cites this humble blog to explain our rocky roads:
In South Dakota, there are more than 1,030 bridges and over 2,030 highway miles in poor condition. Each year, drivers pay $562 in costs due to driving on roads needing repair.
The majority of roads in the Rushmore State aren’t even paved. About 75% of South Dakota’s 83,609 miles of roads are gravel or dirt, according to South Dakota Magazine.
A Clark County resident said that Highway 212 to Highway 28 is “atrocious. It’s almost undrivable.” Survey respondents rated South Dakota’s roads as 2 out of 10 — the worst score on our survey.
Why are South Dakota roads so bad?
“Governor Kristi Noem is hoarding all that coronavirus money until she figures out a way to spend it to fix our roads,” according to the Dakota Free Press. Contributing factors include:
- Poor infrastructure
- Not enough maintenance on rural roads
- Bad lighting and slippery road conditions [Kathryn Parkman, “2021 U.S. Road Conditions by State,” Consumer Affairs, 2021.12.10].
(Thank you for reading, Kathryn!)
The Dakota Free Press article Consumer Affairs cites is from August 2020, when I noted that a Bloomberg article ranked South Dakota’s roads as fourth-worst in the nation. Hmmm… maybe our roads are getting better….
By Parkman’s account, South Dakota’s roads are the worst in the region. Nebraska is next worst, ranking #12 for crummy roads, followed by Montana at #20, Iowa at #22, Wyoming at #26, Minnesota at #33, and North Dakota at #48.