After months of cold weather and snow storms, most people welcome the warm weather of springtime with open arms. Unfortunately, nicer weather is not the only thing spring brings with it. As the snow melts from roadways, potholes begin to show up in alarming numbers, creating a hazardous obstacle course for drivers to maneuver.
Potholes have become an inevitable annoyance in roads across the United States, and aside from slowing traffic and turning streets into minefields, potholes can cause major damage to vehicles.
“One good substantial pothole can quickly knock the front end of a vehicle out of alignment,”says Stan Creech, President at Creech Import Repair. “Common repairs that are seen due to poor road conditions are bent tie rods, tie rod links, as well as damaged shock absorbers or struts. Being knocked out of alignment can cause increased tire wear and reduced fuel economy.”
It often seems like many of these dangerous potholes, as well as other road issues, take forever to repair, if they are even repaired at all. Across America, transportation infrastructure is aging and deteriorating, causing economic turmoil and safety risks for the whole country.
The American Society of Civil Engineers says that more than $100 billion in gas and lost work time are lost each year to traffic on major highways. This is not to mention the stress this brings to commuters on a daily basis.
The U.S. spends significantly less than other countries on its transportation industry, with less than $90 billion spent annually on U.S. highways. This is hardly enough to keep up even the poor conditions that most roads are currently in.
Many states depend on federal funding to support their transportation infrastructure, which doesn’t give them a lot to work with. This means roads and bridges are poorly maintained and, in many cases, unsafe.
According to a White House Infrastructure Spending report, 147,870 bridges across the country are in either poor condition or altogether useless.
New Jersey had over 10,000 reports of potholes after last winter, and the state of Rhode Island is still working on paying back claims from residents whose vehicles had damage from potholes.
Many states are increasing sales tax in an attempt to better maintain roadways, but experts say that even this is unlikely to cover the costs.