Metro Area Roads in ‘Fair’ Condition, For Now

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DES MOINES, Iowa – A new report finds that $10 million more must be spent annually to maintain current road conditions.

Over the past six years, metro area governments have spent an average $30 million annually to maintain roads.

“We determined about 10 million annually more needs to be spent on road preservation and maintenance,” said Todd Ashby, Director, Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The report was done by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and it graded that 82 percent of the roads in the metro are in at least “fair” condition.

Every year, MPO and Iowa State University, collects pavement conditions for non-DOT roads in Iowa. Each road is assigned with a Pavement Condition Index (PCI), which gives drivers a quality of ride they can expect when traveling on that road. Scores rang from zero to 100. To be classified as in “fair” condition a road must score at least 41.

“This report puts a much-needed price tag on a known issue,” said Tom Hockensmith, MPO Chair.

“From an infrastructure stand point we are getting further and further behind,” said Bret Hodne, Wes Des Moines Public Works.

“We may cover it up with some asphalt overlays once in a while. We are going to have some pretty significant infrastructure costs in the future when it comes to rebuilding,” said Hodne. “Because, we frankly are starting to see and even gone past the life cycle on a lot of these pavements they we are driving on.”

The report also found that 18 percent of the metro area roads had a PCI rating of “poor” or “very poor." 44 percent of those roads are in lower income areas.