Report: MI among worst in nation for rural roads and highways

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s rural roads and non-interstate highways are among the worst in the nation, according to new research from the national transportation research group, TRIP.

The Great Lakes state ranked 18th in the nation for the most rural roads in poor condition, according to the report released this week.

Michigan was also the 15th worst state for its number of rural bridges deemed structurally deficient.

The data collected by TRIP also revealed how these alarming numbers relate to traffic deaths.

>>PDF: TRIP 2017 report on rural roads and highways

Michigan ranked 7th in the nation for the number of rural, non-interstate traffic deaths in 2015. That year, 528 people died on rural, non-interstate roads.

Michigan’s rate of traffic deaths on non-interstate, rural roads was 24th in the nation.That’s about four times higher than the death rate on all other roads in the state, according to the TRIP report.

The crumbling rural roads and bridges are also affecting farmers who depend on rural transportation, according to the TRIP report.

Researchers say U.S. officials need to put more improvements in place for safety reasons.

It’s a new report, but not a new issue for Michigan.

In an April report focused on all of Michigan’s roads and highways, TRIP said our state faces one of the largest pavement challenges in the nation.

The group said Michigan’s $4.2 billion plan to fund road projects wasn’t enough; TRIP said the state would need $200 million more to fund all of its forecasted road and highway projects.