Minnesota's highways among the worst in the nation, study says

Categories: Lists, Traffic
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Minnesota's highways are bad and getting worse relative to other states, the report says.
The Reason Foundation's 2013 installment of its annual state-by-state highway rankings puts Minnesota toward the bottom of the list.

SEE ALSO: Twin Cities commute times haven't changed in five years

The study pegs Minnesota's highways as the eighth worst in the country. Our marks are especially poor in the areas of urban interstate congestion (49th) and rural interstate pavement condition (49th).

Ironically, our roads ranked highly when it comes to the percentage of deficient bridges (third) and fatality rate (third).

Minnesota's 42nd-place ranking represents a precipitous drop from the 2011 and '12 reports, in which our highways ranked 15th and 24th, respectively. The main culprit is rapidly deteriorating interstate pavement conditions, with our ranking in that category dropping from 15th in 2012 to 34th this year.

Reason's rankings are based on state spending and roadway performance data submitted to the federal government. The study uses data from 2009, the most recent year available.

Here's Reason's top 10 best-highway ranking -- a list dominated by predominately rural states :

1. North Dakota
2. Kansas
3. Wyoming
4. New Mexico
5. Montana
6. Nebraska
7. South Carolina
8. Missouri
9. South Dakota
10. Mississippi

The bottom 10 states, meanwhile, largely have an urban (and snowy) character:

50. Alaska
49. Rhode Island
48. Hawaii
47. California
46. New Jersey
45. New York
44. Connecticut
43. Massachusetts
42. Minnesota
41. Colorado

You can read Reason's entire study here.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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k2yeb topcommenter

Why is there some list everyday? Are cities paying for publicity?

Its called Winter and a large metro population. Shocker.

Нина Суворова
Нина Суворова

Its because of climate. Very cold. Very hot. Roads dont like this. Come on people - Science.

Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

The urban freeways in Minnesota are of the worst design - a few notable items:

Common areas.  This invention allows the merging of freeways in a 'have at it zone'. 

The disappearing right lane:  394 going East, after Rt 100, lane ends, merge left, lane ends, merge left.  Like reducing four lanes into two - and nobody would notice.

What can one say about the 94 / 35E cluster f*ck in St Paul.

Or how about 94 East, emerging from the tunnel, having to merge with cars entering from Hennepin, and then the immediate exit to 35W south.

Then we have sections of 494 that are still two lanes. 

Rt 169, has been under construction for 25 years and it's still not right.   Parts of 169 are still two lanes - sad.

They have been working on some part of 694 for as long as I can remember.

How about that exit from 55 north (just off the Mendota bridge) to Hwy 5 East - like that ramp?

I've lived in other northern states - it's not like this.  When some part of every road is under construction, you never get to use the road in it's full potential.

Mean while, Minneapolis is working on destroying major urban roads: Portland, Park, Chicago, Lyndale to name a few.  Try driving down Lyndale - one lane - no possibility of passing.  At 5:00 Lyndale and Diamond Lake road is a cluster f*ck. 

Billy Scott
Billy Scott

I find funny that it takes a study for it to be published, they keep making the New bridges to short not leaving room to expand the lanes as well. Mn will always be 90 years behind the times.

Jason Thomas Borneman
Jason Thomas Borneman

It's due to condensed large populations combined with cold weather equalling lots more traffic and expanding and contracting roadways. The only answer I can see is we should all move somewhere tropical and rural... And without Mosquitos.

Damon Bay
Damon Bay

Agreed. With some of the worst drivers in the nation too!

Linda Hoese Reznick
Linda Hoese Reznick

Well hope you are not needing to go west on 62 or 494. Jam packed at 2:30 pm already. How will I get home?

swmnguy topcommenter

If they've got the Dakotas in their Ten Best rural highways, there's no point paying any attention to anything else they have to say.  Utter rubbish.  Not saying Minnesota's roads are in good shape.  But anyone who has driven over rural roads in the Dakotas since, oh, 1970, but certainly in the past 2 years, knows they are cowpaths at best.

ChazDanger topcommenter

Hawaii, Believe it or not, is the worst Highways I have ever seen.  Common courtesy is not a part of their driving habits.  Overpopulation on Oahu has a lot to do with it also.

Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson

I guess thats one "worst in the nation" list that us Minnesotans can agree with!!!! :)


@k2yeb; from my experience traveling the United States I would completely disagree with the "findings" of this "study."  The Twin Cities has awesome roads, the occasional pothole does not justify this ranking. 

My guess is that this "study" was created by a person who hasn't actually traveled on the roads that they are critiquing and this very well may be an attempt by a liberal organization to justify higher taxation.


Doug, if you hate Minnesota so much, why don't you move back to one of the other Northern states you came from.  That or you could move into the city and stop complaining like a big baby about how hard it is living in the suburbs.


@Jason Thomas Borneman Condensed, large populations and 1970's-era urban planning mistakes. It takes a healthy does of both to get a system as bad as ours.


@Damon Bay Double ditto! The real question is, do bad roads produce bad drivers? Or do bad drivers make roads bad?


The two of you have obviously never lived anywhere but Minnesota

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