In a recently published report, Maryland’s Interstate Highway System is listed among the highest in the nation in categories such as rate of congestion, travel volume and pavement deterioration.
The report was released in August by TRIP, a private nonprofit that researches, evaluates, and distributes economic and technical data about surface transportation issues.
The Restoring Maryland’s Interstate Highway System report provides the latest information
on the state’s Interstate system, including pavement conditions, bridge conditions, travel trends, traffic congestion levels, truck use, and traffic safety. It reviews the findings of the Transportation Research Board Interstate report and concludes with recommended steps to ensure that the system is able to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
Key findings from the report include:
- Eighty-two percent of Maryland’s urban Interstate highways are considered congested because they carry traffic levels that result in significant delays during peak travel hours. This is the second highest share in the nation.
- Maryland’s urban Interstates are the second busiest in the nation, as measured by average daily traffic per lane mile.
- Five percent of Maryland’s Interstates have pavement in poor condition, the eleventh highest rate in the nation in 2018. Six percent of Maryland’s Interstate pavements are rated in mediocre condition, eight percent are in fair condition and the remaining eighty percent are in good condition.
- Twenty-two percent of Maryland’s Interstate bridges are in need of repair or replacement.
- Two percent of Maryland’s Interstate bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition. Seventy-two percent of the state’s Interstate bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining twenty-six percent are in good condition.
- Fifty-two percent of the state’s Interstate bridges are at least 50 years old.
According to the report, the U.S. Department of Transportation has determined that there is a significant backlog in Interstate highway repairs and improvements needed across the country estimated to be $123 billion. This includes $54 billion needed to improve
pavement conditions, $37 billion to improve bridges, and $33 billion for needed system
expansion and enhancement.
The recommended restoration and upgrading of the Interstate Highway System to meet the nation’s transportation needs has been outlined in the report. But, the TRB Interstate
report warns that “the scale and scope of the Interstate reinvestment imperative is daunting.”
Recommendations for the restoration of Maryland’s interstate system include:
- Reconstruct the nation’s Interstate Highway System, including pavements, bridges and interchanges
- Improve safety features on Interstate highways
- Right-size the Interstate Highway System by upgrading some existing roadways to Interstate standard
- Adding needed additional highway capacity on existing routes to maintain and improve mobility
- Adding additional corridors to accommodate demographic and economic growth
- Modifying some urban segments to maintain connectivity while remediating economic and social disruption