What Is the State of Our Roads in Indianapolis?


March 26, 2018 / Vehicle Accidents

Streets and roads in Indianapolis are scandalously deteriorated, and it’s our own fault. Years of negligence from cutting public works budgets and putting off needed repairs mean that the chickens have now come home to roost—and we will all pay the price for our neglect, not only in dollars, but also in lives. Nationwide, roughly one-third of our nation’s traffic deaths are linked to poor road conditions.

In a Word: “Staggering”

An internal analysis done by the city asserts that the amount of money and work required to fix more than 8,000 miles of Indianapolis’s streets and roads is “staggering.” The city’s Department of Public Works was forced to conclude that “[t]his deferred maintenance and lack of improvement have resulted in severe deterioration to the city’s transportation facilities.”

Just to upgrade the state of Indy’s roads from poor to fair (a 4 on a 1-to-10 scale) would cost $732 million. Keeping the streets at the level of fair condition would mean an additional $178 million every year to handle the upkeep. For perspective, $178 million is more than twice the amount currently funded to handle all Indianapolis bridge, road, and sidewalk projects.

The work that’s required cannot be put off, and not only because the roads are in poor shape. Continuing neglect accelerates the unrepaired damage to the roads the longer that the damage is ignored. Some believe that Indy roads are currently falling apart more quickly than they can be repaired, and rebuilding a road costs 14 times more than repairing it.

Potholes Are Everywhere

Potholes are especially problematic. On March 1, 2018, an Indianapolis man hit a pothole near Arsenal Tech High School. Exposed rebar bent and pierced the floorboard of his car, landed on the back seat, and then flew out the rear window. While no one was injured, imagine what might have happened if the man’s daughter had been riding in the back seat.

The March 1 incident is not an isolated occurrence. Only one week earlier, on February 22, 2018, 13 drivers had to pull to the side of I-70 past the North Split because an enormous pothole damaged their cars, blowing out tires and producing other harm. Again, fortunately, no one was hurt, but the potential for injury was certainly there.

Potholes are a significant example of poorly maintained roads. While potholes will occur over the life of any road, not fixing the holes creates a cycle of deterioration that both slowly destroys the road and causes fatal accidents. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are especially at risk from potholes. Our pocketbooks are at risk as well; if a municipality does not repair potholes, multimillion-dollar suits can result from injuries caused by the potholes.

Not Just an Indianapolis Problem

Most of the highways in the United States were built from the early 1950s through the 1970s. While a well-constructed road should last 50 years, with time roads that are not kept up can’t help but fall apart. We have much more traffic carrying more weight on our roads than when they were originally built, and our distressing lack of maintenance over the past 35 years compounds the issue.

Streets and roads, like motor vehicles, are woven into our daily lives. Can you imagine what life would be like if our roads ceased to be drivable? Consider how our lives would be impacted by ever-worsening roads:

  • One-half of our nation’s children ride school buses—how would they get to school?
  • Large commercial vehicles transport over 30 million tons of goods every day—where would your groceries come from?
  • Every year, an estimated 60 million ambulance trips occur on our roads—suppose it was your loved one who needed a ride?

Then, of course, there are the very personal monetary costs. It’s estimated that 63 percent of us do not have enough available funds to pay for vehicle repairs caused by potholes and other road damage.

By the year 2030, traffic flow is expected to increase by 25 percent overall. Large commercial vehicle traffic flow is predicted to surge by 64 percent. Expectations are that additional taxes, possibly by a commuter tax in Indianapolis, will be required to raise the needed funds. We have a difficult situation on our hands, and we have no easy solutions.

When others breach their duty, we keep ours.

When you are considering hiring an Indiana car accident lawyer, you should seek an attorney who will provide competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocates Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife at Stephenson Rife. Mike and Brady, as well as the entire legal team, are committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Stephenson Rife today at 1-317-825-5200, or contact us online for immediate help.

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