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Local News

Study calculates cost of bad roads

Impact on average Chicago-area motorist set at $2,485

Traffic sits backup on sound bound I-55 after an multi-vehicle accident, involving at least 20 vehicles occurred Saturday Feb. 14, 2015, in Gardner Ill.
Traffic sits backup on sound bound I-55 after an multi-vehicle accident, involving at least 20 vehicles occurred Saturday Feb. 14, 2015, in Gardner Ill.

Bad roads and congestion cost the average Chicago-area driver $2,485 and 63 hours a year, according to a study released Wednesday by a national transportation group.

The report found that nearly one-third of the major roads in Illinois are in poor or mediocre condition and likely are to get worse, according to the study by The Road Information Program.

“The condition of state-maintained roads and highways in Illinois is expected to deteriorate further, based on current levels of state funding,” the TRIP study said.

The study also reports that an average of 424 traffic fatalities a year in the Chicago region, which includes Will County, could be attributed to road features.

The report comes out amid local calls for interstate improvements, especially on Interstate 80, because of increased truck traffic. The Illinois Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on plans for Interstate 55 improvements April 11.

The study done in conjunction with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce indicates poor road conditions exist in rural and urban areas statewide, although some of the worst conditions are found in the Chicago region.

The 22 percent of roads listed in good condition in the Chicago region was the lowest among the six urban areas studied. Statewide, 54 percent of roads were listed in good condition, although the rate fell significantly in Champaign-Urbana, St. Louis Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield areas.

TRIP spokesman Rocky Moretti said the calculation of vehicle costs related to road conditions is based on a number of factors.

“Basically, the worse roads are, the quicker the vehicle is falling apart,” Moretti said.

In addition to pavement conditions, however, the calculation takes into account the effect of outdated highway designs on serious crashes and the costs in time and fuel attributed to congested highways.

LOCAL HIGHWAY MEETING
Topic: State plans for I-55 improvements between I-80 and Jefferson Street
When: 4-7 p.m. on April 11
Where: Building U Auditorium at Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet
What: Illinois Department of Transportation staff available to discuss I-55 plans
Who: Public invited

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