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Report: SoCal roads costing drivers thousands

December 17, 2009 12:35:21 AM PST
When it comes to roads in Southern California, we have some of the worst in the nation. A new report shows they're in poor condition, and it's costing drivers and the state a lot of money.According to the report, Highland Avenue between Santa Monica Boulevard and Franklin Avenue is one of the most beat-up stretches in the Southland.

Researchers said if something isn't done to fix the roads and bridges, things are only going to get worse.

"I recently had to take in my car for a broken engine mount because I fell into a pothole that I couldn't avoid," said motorist Shady Ellaham.

"They need to fill the potholes. I've almost run my car off the road a few times because of the divets in the roads and stuff like that," said motorist Jennifer Murray.

According to a new study by the Washington-based research group TRIP, traffic congestion and deteriorating roads cost L.A. drivers an average of $2,500 a year.

"It means your vehicle doesn't last as long as it otherwise might. It's also the cost of repairs and maintenance and additional tire wear as a result of driving on poor roads," said Carolyn Bonifas, associate director at TRIP.

Bonifas said the other component of the $2,500 is the cost of lost time and wasted fuel from congestion.

Statewide, drivers are paying about $40 billion annually because of rough roads. The report says that 92 percent of roads in the L.A. metro area are in poor to mediocre condition.

The 405 Freeway between Granada Hills and Long Beach is singled out in the report for poor road conditions, as well as the 5 Freeway between Beach Boulevard and the L.A. County line in Buena Park.

The Inland Empire is also in bad shape. It's estimated that 88 percent of the highways and freeways there are in poor shape.

TRIP says all these problems lead to more traffic crashes and congestion. State officials say they're nearly $11 billion short of the funding needed for road improvement.

"It costs vastly more to drive on deteriorated roadways than it would to find the funding to fix them," Bonifas.

L.A. also has one of the worst traffic congestion in the nation. L.A. drivers spend about 70 hours a year stuck in traffic.


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