The 10 Cities With the Most Crumbling Roads in America

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: An aeriel view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on September 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
No matter which way you go on the Bay bridge, you’ll find some of the most poorly maintained roads in America. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

All across America, there are cities where daily driving is expensive, dangerous, or a spectacular waste of time. In some places, owning a car is all of the above.

The condition of areas roads plays a key role in this equation. If the streets are full of potholes and uneven surfaces, accidents become more likely. Where accidents are frequent, insurance costs are higher. Likewise, traffic jams are more routine.

An article published by auto telematics firm Teletrac Navman highlights the link between poorly maintained roads and higher maintenance costs for drivers. If you live in one of these areas, you have to proceed with caution if you hope to stay safe and keep vehicle costs down.

These 10 cities have the worst-maintained roads in America.

10. Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Nearly half of roads in the Tulsa area qualify as poorly maintained.

According to data by the transportation nonprofit TRIP, 49% of the roads in and around Tulsa were poor. That means one in two streets showcases “extremely deteriorated” conditions and will have cracks or potholes in 50-75% of the roadway.

As a result, Tulsa area residents spend about $1,000 more on vehicle maintenance than the average driver. That’s a steep price for a city that appears unable to handle its roads.

9. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • In Grand Rapids, 52% of the roads are falling apart. More are worse than average.

While Grand Rapids only has a population around 200,000, the area has some of America’s worst roads. According to the data, 52% of the roadways here qualify as poor.

Meanwhile, another 9% rate worse than average. (In this category, defects are obvious though less damaging when cars drive over them.) To its credit, a solid percentage (37%) of Tulsa roads also qualified as excellent.

8. Oklahoma City

  • Residents of Oklahoma City pay the most in extra maintenance costs as a result of the crumbling infrastructure.

Oklahoma City roads aren’t just bad — they’re horrendous. Between the one that qualify as poor (53%) and those that are below average (30%), the city ranks among the worst overall in America.

In added costs to vehicles owners, Oklahoma City is indeed the very worst. Motorists spend an extra $1,025 here per year to fix the problems the area’s defunct roads create.

7. Omaha

The Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha Nebraska
The Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, Nebraska | steveodonnell/Getty Images
  • It’s expensive for Omaha residents to navigate this many bad roadways.

Only 22% of Omaha roads qualify as “good” or “fair” in the analysis. The lion’s share (54%) ranked among the worst, while the remaining 24% counted as below average.

The rattling, banging, and scuffing a vehicle can endure regularly in Omaha has a price tag. Every year, maintenance costs here cost drivers an extra $852.

6. Bridgeport-Stamford

  • Well over half the roads in these Connecticut towns rank as poor.

Drivers in these New York suburbs must have a hard time getting around on a daily basis. Overall, 55% of the roads here rate as poor, with another 21% below average.

That will cost area residents about $800 extra in repair expenses for their vehicle, compared to the average city. Stamford and its neighbor have the poorest roads on the East Coast.

5. Milwaukee

  • Potholes, cracks, and other types of deformities can be found in far too many Milwaukee roads.

Some 56% of Milwaukee-area roadways rank as poor. That means you have to drive carefully or face repairs when you hit one of the many obstacles you’ll encounter. In dollars, the terrible driving conditions cost residents here about $860 per year. That’s a lot of trips to service centers where you don’t always get honest service.

4. Detroit

Traffic moves along a street February 24, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.
All the data pointed to Detroit as the roughest place for drivers in a 2018 study by WalletHub. | J.D. Pooley/Getty Images
  • The Motor City has something of a road crisis.

When you add up the awful (56%) and the simply bad (27%) among Detroit roads, you’re left with only a few places to drive safely. That’s how bad the situation has been in The Motor City.

Only a handful of places in America rate worse. It costs area residents an additional $865 to repair their cars after banging through the streets on a daily basis. No Midwestern city has worse roads.

3. San Jose

  • Nearly 6 in 10 San Jose roadways rank as poor.

The way to San Jose is rarely smooth or pleasant. According to the data compiled by TRIP, a whopping 59% of the roads here are poorly maintained.  In terms of repairs, the wear and tear on a vehicle will cost local motorists $860 more annually than the average.

2. Los Angeles

Shot of the 110 freeway on February 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
A look at the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles on the average afternoon | Getty Images
  • Onl7 17% of L.A. roads count as acceptable or good.

If the hit-and-run accidents or distracted driving don’t get you in Southern California, the poor roads might. A stunning 60% rated among the worst-maintained in the country, with another 23% rated as below average. In added repairs, that will run the average Angeleno an extra $892 in costs.

1. San Francisco-Oakland

  • An alarming 7 in 10 Bay Area roads qualify as poor.

Technically, this is two cities, but as a metro region the Bay Area ranks as the worst in America for smooth driving surfaces. Some 71% rated as poor, with another 15% failing to qualify as acceptable. (Concord was the worst town of all.)

When drivers get their cars fixed after the brutal treatment on area roads, the costs add up to an extra $978 compared to the average. As if Bay Area residents needed higher expenses.