A nationwide survey released Tuesday said 30 percent of the pavement on rural roads in Kansas was rated as poor, leaving the state No. 5 on the study's list of America's worst rural roads.
But the study of road conditions in 2014 prepared by Trip – which describes itself as national transportation research group sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, and businesses involved in highway engineering and construction – was divided in its overall assessment of Kansas' rural, non-Interstate roads. Its survey rated 51 percent of the pavement on Kansas' rural roads as “good” with another 19 percent listed as “mediocre and fair.”
Kansas did slightly better in the quality of its rural bridges. The survey said that of the state's 22,157 bridges – a number second only to Tennessee's 31,992 total rural bridges – only 10 percent were rated as structurally deficient. That number gave Kansas a middle-of-the-pack ranking among 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Kansas also ranked in the upper half (tied for 18th) of states in rural road fatalities. Using 2013 data, Trip said Kansas experienced 2.19 traffic deaths per 100 million miles traveled on rural, non-Interstate roads and highways. Connecticut ranked No. 1 with 3.57 fatalities per 100 millions miles.
Trip officials said the 2015 report illustrates the need for improving rural roads that play a major role in the nation's energy and food supplies. It noted that much of the funding for upgrading America's rural roads and bridges comes from a federal Highway Trust Fund that is scheduled to expire at the end of May.
Trip said it based its survey on data compiled from national sources including the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Census Bureau, among other sources.