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Magazine says some local highways are among the worst in America

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 02 2012 05:29:30 PM CDT

Magazine says area roads are some of the worst in America

A lot of drivers complain about local highways, but are they really the worst in the entire country? That's what one magazine claims. According to "Reader's Digest," three of the worst roads in America are right here: I-78, I-80, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

"That does kind of surprise me," said Chris Daw of Salisbury Twp., Lehigh Co. "I used to drive for a living, so I've been on a lot of highways -- different areas, different cities -- and this one is kind of tame."

Readers cited narrow lanes, too many curves, and too much construction.

"Route 80 -- there just seems to be too much construction on that any given time of the year," said Lou Coassolo of Barnesville, Carbon Co.

"Readers Digest" also noted exit ramps that are too short.

"I don't think we should be sharing ramps to get on and off. They should be individualized," said Daw. "I think that's a major hazard to getting on and off the highway."

According to PennDOT, most highways were designed to 1950s standards, when cars drove slower. The oldest sections of those roads do have the most crashes. On I-78, that's in Berks Co., which saw 839 crashes since 2007. On I-80, the most accidents happened in Monroe Co., which had almost 1,200 accidents.

"Along 78 and 80, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars on both highways in the last year," said PennDOT spokesman Ron Young.

But most of that money is for maintenance and bridge work.

Some drivers avoid the highway altogether.

"Potholes, always seems to be in disrepair," said Labarre. "I don't use it that much."

So who has the best highways? According to "Readers Digest," Kansas and Montana. PennDOT said there's a reason for that: lots of open land. Young said Pennsylvania and other Northeast states developed earlier, so our highways had to be build around things that were already here. Other than New York City's George Washington Bridge though, none of the magazine's other "worst roads" are in this part of the country.