👎 NJ roads ranked among the worst in America
👎 One main reason is poor pavement quality
👎 The report finds NJ is doing better fixing its bridges

A new report finds New Jersey’s highway system is one of the worst in the nation, but that’s actually the good news.

Last year Jersey had the worst rating of any state in America.

According to Baruch Feigenbaum, the lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, the analysis is designed to give transportation officials and taxpayers an insight into how their roads are performing.

Courtesy the Reason Foundatoin
Courtesy the Reason Foundatoin

He said this year New Jersey’s highway system ranks 44th nationally “and while 44 out of 50 might not seem like it’s cause for celebration, New Jersey has ranked last, 50th, for I would say at least the last 8 years.”

Why does NJ get such a lousy rating?

He said one big reason for Jersey’s low score is traffic jams.

Traffic jam with rows of cars
(Getty Stock / ThinkStock)

“New Jersey ranks last in traffic congestion, obviously that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge with all of the folks that live in New Jersey and commute,” he said.

The report finds commuters spend more than 48 hours per year in traffic jams, which is more than any other state. The state with the fewest traffic jams is Wyoming.

He suggested traffic congestion could be improved by making some lanes on highways like Routes 78 and 80 toll lanes.

Pavement quality in NJ is poor

Roadway over McClees Creek on Navesink River Road in Middletown
Roadway over McClees Creek on Navesink River Road in Middletown (Google Street View)

Feigenbaum said compared to many other states, the material used to build roads in New Jersey is inferior “in terms of urban interstate pavement, which there’s a lot of, it’s 5th worst in the country, in terms of rural arterial pavement, surface streets, it ranks 10th worst.”

The report also finds roadwork in the Garden State is extremely expensive.

“New Jersey is 2 or 3 times more expensive than the average state,” he said.

So how did New Jersey actually improve its ranking in this year’s report?

He said the Garden State was able to do better in this year’s report because “we have 3 fatality rate categories and New Jersey ranked in the top 20 in all of those.”

“We’ve also seen improvement in the percentage of structurally deficient bridges that New Jersey has, ranking 31st which is middle of the pack, New Jersey used to be toward the bottom,” he said.

He noted the state also benefited in how spending on roadwork in urban areas was calculated.

Money / Gold / Rich / Finance

When all factors are considered together Fegenbaum said “New Jersey drivers are overall paying quite a bit and not getting a very good quality roadway system.”

The report finds Virginia’s highways and bridges rank first in overall performance and cost-effectiveness, while Alaska’s highways rank last in the nation due to high fatality rates and poor urban and rural pavement conditions.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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