FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
SERIES OF REPORTS EXAMINE NEW HAMPSHIRE ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS, TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. LACK OF SUSTAINABLE, LONG-TERM FUNDING THREATENS NEW HAMPSHIRE’S ABILITY TO IMPROVE ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS, ENHANCE TRAFFIC SAFETY, RELIEVE CONGESTION AND PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND RECOVERY
Concord, NH – A series of new reports examine the condition of New Hampshire’s transportation system and evaluates, statewide and regionally, their adequacy in providing safe, efficient and sustainable mobility. Each of the five reports, prepared by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit, examines an individual component of the state’s transportation system, including graphics to illustrate the report’s findings.
TRIP’s “New Hampshire Mobility Dashboard,” produced in conjunction with the Safer Road to Tomorrow Coalition, finds that throughout New Hampshire, nearly half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorists a total of $572 million annually, and nine percent of the state’s bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition. Nearly 600 people were killed on the state’s roads from 2014 to 2018. The condition and efficiency of New Hampshire’s transportation system are critical factors in the state’s economic growth and recovery, with $93 billion in goods shipped to and from New Hampshire annually.
Below are links to each individual report, along with a summary of their findings.
NEW HAMPSHIRE ROAD CONDITIONS & COSTS TO DRIVERS: Statewide, 24 percent of major roads are in poor condition and 19 percent are in mediocre condition, while 13 percent are in fair condition and 44 percent are in good condition. Twenty-nine percent of New Hampshire’s urban roads are in poor condition and 20 percent are in mediocre condition, while 20 percent of the state’s rural roads are in poor condition and 18 percent are in mediocre condition. Driving on roads in need of repair costs New Hampshire motorists $572 million annually – an average of $518 per driver – in the form of accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional vehicle repair costs, increased fuel consumption and increased tire wear. The report also includes regional pavement condition data and cost to motorist figures for the Dover-Rochester, Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth urban areas.
BRIDGE CONDITIONS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Statewide, nine percent – 224 of 2,494- of New Hampshire bridges (20 feet or longer) are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 38 percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 53 percent are in good condition. The TRIP report also includes bridge condition data for each of New Hampshire’s ten counties. Deteriorated bridges can have a significant impact on daily life. Restrictions on vehicle weight may cause many vehicles—especially emergency vehicles, commercial trucks, school buses and farm equipment—to use alternate routes to avoid posted bridges. Fifty-five percent of New Hampshire’s bridges are 50 years or older. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer.
“The maintenance of New Hampshire’s transportation system is more important now than ever before. Months of stay-at-home orders have shown just how vital tourism and work commuting are to our state’s economy,” said Brenda Clemons, executive director of NH Good Roads Association. “Additionally, the drastic reduction in travel due to Covid-19 orders has greatly reduced revenue into New Hampshire’s highway fund. The quality of our roads and bridges must remain a priority as New Hampshire reopens and Granite Staters return to work.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE TRAFFIC SAFETY: Traffic crashes in New Hampshire claimed the lives of 594 people between 2014 and 2018. New Hampshire’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.07 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2018 was lower than the national average of 1.13. The TRIP report includes fatality data for each New Hampshire county for each year from 2014 to 2018. New Hampshire’s non-interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate in 2018 that was nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs 0.59). TRIP estimates that traffic crashes where a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor resulted in $606 million in economic costs in New Hampshire in 2018. These costs include work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
NEW HAMPSHIRE TRAFFIC CONGESTION: Since 2000, New Hampshire’s population has increased 10 percent, while vehicle travel has increased 15 percent, placing increasing burdens on the state’s transportation system. The TRIP report details the number of hours the average motorist loses annually to congestion and the annual per-driver cost of lost time and wasted fuel in the state’s four largest urban areas, Dover-Rochester, Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth – up to 30 hours lost to congestion each year and as much as $612 annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in New Hampshire, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.
TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: The efficiency and condition of New Hampshire’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $93 billion in goods are shipped to and from New Hampshire, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. Approximately 320,000 full-time jobs in New Hampshire in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the quality, safety and reliability of the state’s transportation infrastructure network. Local, regional and state economic performance is improved when a region’s surface transportation system is expanded or repaired. This improvement comes as a result of the initial job creation and increased employment created over the long-term because of improved access, reduced transport costs and improved safety.
“The lack of adequate, sustainable transportation funding in New Hampshire will lead to increasing deterioration on the state’s roads and bridges, reduced traffic safety, and even longer congestion-related delays for commuters, businesses and visitors,” said Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director. “Making investments that will improve the condition and efficiency of New Hampshire’s transportation system will ensure that the state remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business.”