Arkansas Highways Rated 36th in New Report

Arkansas tumbled seven places to No. 36 in a newly released study of the condition and cost-effectiveness state of the highway system as measured in 11 categories.

The 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems is a project of the Reason Foundation, and the newest results — based on data for 2009-10 — was released this month.

Arkansas was cited among five states whose performance "worsened sharply from 2008."

"Arkansas fell 7 spots, from 29th to 36th, as total disbursements remained flat while system performance worsened," the authors of the study, David T. Hartgen, Ph.D., P.E., M. Gregory Fields and Elizabeth San José, wrote. But Arkansas' performance was not the worst. Minnesota fell 17 spots to 42nd and Delaware dropped from 11th to 20th.

A third of Arkansas' rural primary mileage have narrow lanes; only Pennsylvania, with 40 percent, had a higher percentage of rural highways with narrow lanes, "key indicators of sight visibility and road design adequacy." (The lane data was from 2008.)

Arkansas ranks 19th for percentage of bridges that were rated as deficient, with 20.7 percent in 2009 and 19.7 percent in 2010. The state rated a dismal 46th for traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 1.76 in 2009 and 1.62 in 2010.