Which area has the worst roads in North America? It’s a dubious honor with many contenders.
According to a March report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 43% of roads in the United States are in poor or mediocre condition. That costs drivers more than $130 billion each year in repairs and other expenses.
But which city’s roads are the most pockmarked with potholes, blistered with bumps and haunted by hazards? Tiremaker Nokian Tyres is exploring the issue as part of a pothole awareness campaign and asking drivers to submit their own stories.
Here are four cities with particularly challenging road surfaces.
One of the first cities founded in the U.S. ranks among the worst when it comes to road quality. The Global Traffic Scorecard from transportation firm INRIX claims that Boston residents spent more time in traffic than people in any other city — an average of 149 hours (four work weeks) in 2019.
Why? In part because of poor road quality. A report from MoneyGeek asserts that Massachusetts has the sixth roughest roads in the United States.
Quebec’s largest city is a cosmopolitan cultural hub. But its reputation for refinement doesn’t extend to its travel corridors.
CAA rates Boulevard Gouin Est in Montreal as the worst road in Quebec due to its large number of potholes, and the stretch of Highway 40 heading into Montreal is one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks, according to CAA.
And it’s not just a Montreal problem: Fewer than half of Quebec’s roadways are in good condition, according to a 2020 report from the provincial government. Statistics Canada reports that 18% of those roads are in poor or very poor shape.
The Motor City presents some major challenges to motorists as freezing roads thaw and create potholes. More than 44% of Detroit roads are in poor condition, according to recent data from the Federal Highway Administration.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives Michigan’s roads a D-minus grade and claims that 39% of the state’s roads are in bad condition — that’s more than 46,000 miles of roadway. It’s no wonder MoneyGeek labels the Wolverine State’s roads the ninth roughest in the U.S.
Drivers in the Rose City don’t always have a rosy time on the road. More than 60% of Portland’s roads are in poor or fair condition, according to a local government report.
Research from Texas A&M University relays that Portland residents spend more than $1,200 per year due to travel time delays and extra fuel consumption tied to gridlock in the city. That’s the 11th highest cost per driver in the United States, enough to put Portland on the short list of worst roads on the continent.
Voting for the worst roads
Which of these areas has the worst roads in North America? Or does another city deserve the dubious recognition? Nokian Tyres is inviting drivers to vote on its Facebook or Instagram pages at the handle @NokianTyresNA.
This time of year, potholes make roads more dangerous nationwide. It’s one reason the company introduced the Nokian Tyres One, its first passenger tire to be reinforced with puncture-resistant Aramid fibers to help protect against potholes and other road hazards. Aramid is the same sturdy material used in bulletproof vests.
With the tire’s Pothole Protection program, if it is damaged beyond repair by a pothole or other road hazard, the company will replace it for free (terms and conditions apply). Learn more about the puncture-resistant product at NokianTires.com/Potholes.