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Maryland's Highway System Among The Worst In U.S., Report Finds

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A report released Thursday found Maryland's highway system is one of the worst in the nation.

The report on the condition of America's highways from TRIP, the National Transportation Research Nonprofit, found Maryland's roads near the end of the pack. It looked at 480 miles of highways in the state to make its comparison.

Truck driver Harold Henderson can vouch for the rough roads; he told WJZ some highways are so bad they have led to screws falling off his truck.

"There are just more potholes it seems like," he said.

It's not just the condition of the roads themselves that led to Maryland's low score but also the levels of congestion, Rocky Moretti, TRIP's policy and research director, said.

"Urban portions of Maryland's Interstate system are among the most congested in the nation," Moretti said.

According to the report, Maryland's urban interstates are the second-most congested in the U.S., behind only California. The interstates are the "workhorses" of the state's highway network, carrying 30 percent of the state's vehicle travel.

Henderson said driving during rush hour can be a struggle.

"You get in rush hour traffic coming into Baltimore on either side, it's just a fight," he said.

The report also found that more than half of Maryland's bridges are over 50 years old, though just two percent are considered to be in poor or structurally deficient condition.

To fix the issues, the report recommends a "significant boost" in investment from the state and federal governments.

"Ongoing routine maintenance is not going to be adequate to maintain this aging system," Moretti said.

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater admitted the state "does have real congestion and mobility challenges."

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic leading to lower traffic volumes, the highway budget has taken a hit, leading Slater to call on the federal government to help offset some of the losses.

Otherwise, he warned, "we could have lane miles of pavement in poor condition."

"We have a lot of people in Baltimore that use our system that really depend on our system," Slater said.

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