Road conditions in L.A. region judged worst in country

Pedestrians walk near a pothole at McCadden Place and 4th Street in Hancock Park.
Pedestrians walk near a pothole at McCadden Place and 4th Street in Hancock Park.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The roads in Greater Los Angeles are the most deteriorated in the United States, costing drivers more than $800 a year, according to a national transportation analysis released Thursday.

Los Angeles-Santa Ana-Long Beach ranks first among cities with more than 500,000 residents for the percentage of roads in poor condition and the annual cost to drivers, according to TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that studies transportation data and issues.

About 64% of roads in Greater Los Angeles are in poor condition, and potholes and rough pavement cost Southern California drivers about $832 a year, TRIP estimates, including repairs, tires and faster depreciation.


The analysis was based on 2011 data from the Federal Highway Administration. The federal government catalogs, on a scale of 1 to 100, the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in urban and rural areas. The index includes potholes, utility cuts and various types of cracks.

L.A.’s sprawling 8,700 miles of roads are graded a C-minus, and a quarter received an F, according to recent Los Angeles City Council information. City staff members are studying the possibilities of a $3-billion borrowing program to fix what officials say is a 60-year backlog of repairs. The cost has doubled since 2005, and is expected to double again in the next decade.

Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitchell Englander hope to include a proposal to issue city bonds for the work on the fall 2014 ballot. A two-thirds majority of voters would have to approve issuing the debt.

Nationally, more than a quarter of major urban highways and streets are in poor condition. The same roadways handle about 78% of the 2 trillion miles driven annually in urban America, TRIP said.

“Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, conditions will continue to deteriorate, drivers will continue to pay the price, and our economy will suffer,” said Will Kempton, the executive director of Transportation California, in a prepared statement.

The second- and third-worst urban road networks are also in California. About 60% of roads in Oakland and San Francisco are in poor condition, as are 56% of roads in San Jose.



Grading Los Angeles streets

Interactive map: L.A. street quality grades

City Council backs study of possible $3-billion street repair bond

Twitter: @laura_nelson