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We’re Number One! Yet Again!

It is that time of the year commonly referred to as the holiday let down.  That period in the calendar when we go from ushering in a new year to hiding eggs.  People start looking forward to the Summer and vacation time it will bring. It is also that time of the year when the trucking industry magazine, Overdrive, releases the results of their latest “Worst Roads” survey. Sadly to say, we’re number one again.

For most of the 1990s, Pennsylvania held the dubious distinction of “Worst Roads” in the United States.  The state’s fortunes began to change in the late 1990s when Pennsylvania slid down to second place.

For the past decade, the number one slot has bounced between newcomers such as Arkansas and Louisiana. Pennsylvania has taken top, or bottom, billing 13 out of 19 years Overdrive has been conducting the survey. It takes the title back in 2009.  I find this distinction particularly amusing this year. The reason being the replacement or rehabilitation of all of the structurally deficient bridges thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  In fact, a Congressional committee named Pennsylvania as the top-ranked large state, third overall, for starting and completing projects funded by the ARRA.

States are not just judged by the conditions of their highway systems, but other things related to trucking.  Interstate 80 still retains the title of “Most Improved Road” from last year. However, in 2008 it was second under “Best Highway Segment” and forth under “Worst Highway Segment.”

Pennsylvania is number one once again in Overdrive's "Worst Roads" ranking even though Interstate 80 is still the "Most Improved Road."
Interstate 80 through Stroudsburg

Pennsylvania still retains third place for “Toughest on Truck Inspections and Law Enforcement.” A distinction it shares with Maryland this year. The strangest change is our truck stops. They went from third best to a tie with California and New York for third worst.  Now that’s some swing!

You’re probably wondering how something like that, or the aforementioned Interstate 80 ranking can happen. I learned from an editor with Overdrive the process of tallying the votes. Instead of averaging the good and bad scores, the good and bad are separated then averaged. That explains how Pennsylvania was second under “Worst Roads” and five under “Best Roads” one year.

Unfortunately no shout out this year for me or the website. It is just as well since Pennsylvania highways (the ones made of concrete and asphalt) are back on top, or bottom.

The Good, The Bad, The Better – Overdrive

 
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We’re Not Number 1!

The yearly survey of truck drivers and readers of Overdrive magazine has been released.  I can now say, as well as the index page can now say, that Pennsylvania’s highways are no longer the worst in the country.  Yes, you read that correctly. Pennsylvania’s highways are no longer the worst in the country. We’re not Number 1!

Pennsylvania has relinquished that title to Louisiana, and before you say it, it has nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina.  While the storm did damage roadways along the coast, especially the Interstate 10 bridges that cross Lake Pontchartrain, the rest of the state has no excuse and in fact has bounced around the top five worst for years now.

Considering everything that is working against PennDOT:

1.  Most if not all traffic between New England and the rest of the country pass through the state
2.  Having to maintain the same amount of state routes that is in all of New England
3.  Freeze-thaw cycle
4.  Federal highway money being siphoned off to prop up mass transit

It is not as if PennDOT is in the throws of their fiscal crisis of the 1970s and 1980s.  They have been building new expressways such as US 222 in Reading and rebuilding highways such as the Fort Washington Expressway.

Projects like I-99 rehabilitation mean we're not number 1 in worst roads this year.

When it comes to snow removal and surface treatment, they are on their game.  Just recently there was a small snow event that came through western Pennsylvania.  The state routes were clear and traffic was moving fine, but once onto the city streets of Latrobe, it was like a skating rink.

Again this year, the article mentioned myself along with the website.  The one thing I did not like about the article labeling Pennsylvania Highways a “watchdog site.” The only way that it is that, is because I watch what they do and I can change the information here accordingly. However, the term makes it sound as if I am staking out construction projects or maintenance yards watching for malfeasance.

Anyway, next time you driving through a construction zone, just keep saying to yourself, “We’re not Number 1!”

Rougher Than a Corncob – Overdrive

 
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