The famous "Haul Road" in the Brooks Range of remote northern Alaska, covered in potholes and bumps

States with the worst highways

Written by:
July 14, 2023
Troutnut // Shutterstock

States with the worst highways

The term "infrastructure" is a stand-in for a great variety of national and local concerns—from clean water to electric grids to access to the internet—but traditionally the term has referred to the condition of the nation's roads, bridges, and highways.

According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans traveled more than 5.3 trillion miles on highways in 2021—nearly 240 times more than all forms of transit combined and more than 30 times the mileage traveled by air.

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dedicated $110 billion to building, expanding, and improving roads, bridges, and other major surface transportation projects nationwide. At the time of the IIJA's approval, approximately 40% of all roads and bridges across the U.S. were classified as being in poor or mediocre condition.

Among the IIJA's most notable investments is $40 billion for the repair, rehabilitation, and/or replacement of structurally deficient bridges, which is the single largest financial infusion into this aspect of surface transportation since the construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. As bridges and viaducts are crucial components of every highway, this investiture offers even more bang per buck, benefiting both roads and bridges at once.

Citing a report from the Reason Foundation, Stacker compiled a ranking of all U.S. states by the condition of their highways, from best to worst, with lower rankings indicating highways are in worse condition. This index looks at a variety of factors including infrastructure condition, funding, and crash fatality data to create the ranking. Subrankings for some of those categories are included for each state.

The ranking considers each state's resources, geographic conditions, size of the highway system, and traffic. The comparative performance scores are calculated based on road system performance and expenditure per mile. States with the highest-rated highway systems would thus be expected to favor both road users (due to higher-quality infrastructure) and taxpayers (because of lower maintenance costs per mile). This assessment method allows for a more standardized comparison of states and, therefore, results in a mix of large and small states at the top of the ranking.

1 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#50. Virginia

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #1 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #5 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #19 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #24 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #10 best
- Rural fatality rank: #24 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #10 best

2 / 50
Sharkshock // Shutterstock

#49. North Carolina

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #11 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #15 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #15 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #11 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #21 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #22 best
- Urban fatality rank: #20 best

3 / 50
Kevin Ruck // Shutterstock

#48. Tennessee

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #9 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #12 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #10 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #22 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #11 best
- Rural fatality rank: #23 best
- Urban fatality rank: #4 worst

4 / 50
Canva

#47. Georgia

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #8 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #18 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #5 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #11 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #6 best
- Rural fatality rank: #16 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #14 worst

5 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#46. Connecticut

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #12 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #13 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #8 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #9 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #22 best
- Rural fatality rank: #25 best
- Urban fatality rank: #11 best

6 / 50
f11photo // Shutterstock

#45. South Carolina

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #5 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #19 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #3 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #17 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #23 best
- Rural fatality rank: #1 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #21 worst

7 / 50
Rotorhead 30A Productions // Shutterstock

#44. Kentucky

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #14 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #16 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #16 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #19 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #25 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #24 best
- Urban fatality rank: #11 worst

8 / 50
Mia2you // Shutterstock

#43. Florida

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #8 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #1 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #9 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #18 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #8 best
- Rural fatality rank: #6 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #2 worst

9 / 50
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#42. North Dakota

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #13 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #7 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #2 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #4 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #8 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #19 best
- Urban fatality rank: #5 best

10 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#41. Utah

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #11 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #4 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #20 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #13 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #5 best
- Rural fatality rank: #16 best
- Urban fatality rank: #13 best

11 / 50
TommyBrison // Shutterstock

#40. Missouri

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #2 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #9 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #24 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #13 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #12 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #17 best
- Urban fatality rank: #9 worst

12 / 50
Canva

#39. Minnesota

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #18 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #17 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #24 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #12 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #12 best
- Rural fatality rank: #2 best
- Urban fatality rank: #2 best

13 / 50
Canva

#38. Arkansas

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #15 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #14 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #16 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #25 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #20 best
- Rural fatality rank: #18 best
- Urban fatality rank: #7 best

14 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#37. New Hampshire

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #19 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #6 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #1 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #21 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #17 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #3 best
- Urban fatality rank: #1 best

15 / 50
Kevin Ruck // Shutterstock

#36. Alabama

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #24 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #23 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #15 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #10 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #9 best
- Rural fatality rank: #15 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #13 worst

16 / 50
LBill45 // Shutterstock

#35. Wyoming

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #25 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #20 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: # best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: # best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: # best
- Rural fatality rank: # best
- Urban fatality rank: # best

17 / 50
Canva

#34. Ohio

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #16 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #18 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #19 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #21 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #16 best
- Rural fatality rank: #11 best
- Urban fatality rank: #15 best

18 / 50
Canva

#33. Mississippi

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #17 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #22 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #25 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #24 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #22 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #5 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #6 worst

19 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#32. Texas

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #20 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #22 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #21 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #4 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #3 best
- Rural fatality rank: #11 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #17 worst

20 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#31. Massachusetts

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #3 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #20 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #23 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #3 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #14 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #15 best
- Urban fatality rank: #8 best

21 / 50
randy andy // Shutterstock

#30. Nevada

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #7 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #2 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #17 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #11 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #2 best
- Rural fatality rank: #3 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #19 worst

22 / 50
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#29. Kansas

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #13 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #14 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #25 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #14 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #17 best
- Rural fatality rank: #21 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #24 worst

23 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#28. Indiana

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #14 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #12 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #20 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #22 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #24 best
- Rural fatality rank: #14 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #24 best

24 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#27. Maryland

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #21 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #23 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #9 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #17 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #14 best
- Rural fatality rank: #1 best
- Urban fatality rank: #25 best

25 / 50
Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#26. Montana

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #19 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #25 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #13 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #3 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #23 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #4 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #14 best

26 / 50
Katherine Welles // Shutterstock

#25. Nebraska

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #24 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #10 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #22 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #8 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #15 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #23 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #17 best

27 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#24. Michigan

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #20 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #10 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #8 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #16 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #9 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #5 best
- Urban fatality rank: #23 worst

28 / 50
JohnDSmith // Shutterstock

#23. South Dakota

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #18 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #8 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #4 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #5 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #4 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #22 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #20 worst

29 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#22. Illinois

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #17 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #25 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #17 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #6 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #13 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #14 best
- Urban fatality rank: #25 worst

30 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#21. Arizona

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #5 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #17 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #14 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #24 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #1 best
- Rural fatality rank: #10 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #3 worst

31 / 50
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#20. Iowa

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #9 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #21 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #18 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #2 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #2 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #10 best
- Urban fatality rank: #22 best

32 / 50
Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#19. Maine

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #23 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #24 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #7 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #8 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #7 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #8 best
- Urban fatality rank: #4 best

33 / 50
Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#18. Wisconsin

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #22 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #15 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #14 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #13 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #24 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #12 best
- Urban fatality rank: #9 best

34 / 50
Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

#17. Idaho

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #3 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #19 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #11 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #7 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #19 best
- Rural fatality rank: #8 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #3 best

35 / 50
Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

#16. Delaware

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #10 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: Not applicable
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #7 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #8 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #4 best
- Rural fatality rank: #13 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #8 worst

36 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#15. New Mexico

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #7 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #11 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #23 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #16 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #18 best
- Rural fatality rank: #20 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #1 worst

37 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#14. Oregon

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #12 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #11 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #21 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #18 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #13 best
- Rural fatality rank: #9 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #18 worst

38 / 50
Albert Pego // Shutterstock

#13. Vermont

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #16 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #21 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #6 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #19 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #7 best
- Rural fatality rank: #6 best
- Urban fatality rank: #12 best

39 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#12. West Virginia

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #4 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #7 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #6 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #6 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #1 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #21 best
- Urban fatality rank: #21 best

40 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#11. Louisiana

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #6 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #8 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #2 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #23 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #6 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #20 best
- Urban fatality rank: #5 worst

41 / 50
ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#10. Pennsylvania

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #21 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #9 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #12 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #19 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #5 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #9 best
- Urban fatality rank: #22 worst

42 / 50
George Wirt // Shutterstock

#9. Rhode Island

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #22 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #3 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #18 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #5 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #3 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #25 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #16 best

43 / 50
Canva

#8. Colorado

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #23 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #4 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #11 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #20 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #21 best
- Rural fatality rank: #19 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #15 worst

44 / 50
Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#7. New Jersey

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #6 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #24 best
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #5 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #1 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #20 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #13 best
- Urban fatality rank: #18 best

45 / 50
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#6. Oklahoma

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #10 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #16 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #13 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #10 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #10 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #18 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #16 worst

46 / 50
Agnieszka Gaul // Shutterstock

#5. Washington

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #1 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #6 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #22 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #16 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #15 best
- Rural fatality rank: #4 best
- Urban fatality rank: #6 best

47 / 50
Marek Masik // Shutterstock

#4. California

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #15 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #5 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #4 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #7 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #25 best
- Rural fatality rank: #12 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #23 best

48 / 50
Canva

#3. Hawaii

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #25 best
- Rural interstate pavement rank: Not applicable
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #1 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #25 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #18 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #2 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #12 worst

49 / 50
Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#2. New York

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #4 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #13 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #3 worst
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #2 worst
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #11 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #7 best
- Urban fatality rank: #19 best

50 / 50
Canva

#1. Alaska

- Capital and bridge disbursements rank: #2 worst
- Rural interstate pavement rank: #3 worst
- Urban interstate pavement rank: #12 best
- Urbanized area congestion rank: #15 best
- Structurally deficient bridges rank: #16 worst
- Rural fatality rank: #7 worst
- Urban fatality rank: #10 worst

Story editing by Brian Budzynski. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.

Trending Now