Local Road & Bridge Facts


Nationwide, local roads account for about 75 % of the nations highways and roads (about 2.93 million miles). Counties manage about 1.74 million miles of those roads while cities and townships another 1.19 million miles. Counties also own 219,000 bridges and operate one third of the nation’s transit systems. This is important to remember not only because of the large mileage but also because just about all travel (people and goods) starts and ends on local roads. Thus, local roads are a vital element of our nation’s highway system.

Condition of Local Roads and Bridges

Ref. Rural Roads and Bridges: A Comprehensive Analysis Report Issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, September, 1996

Interstates, state roads, arterials and major collectors are central components of the national traffic network and are classified as the federal-aid highway system, or simply as "on system". Roads not on the federal-aid highway system are classified as "off system" and consist of local or rural minor collectors. The survey revealed that 47.8 percent of the local county roads are less than adequate with normal maintenance. It should also be noted that 48.1 percent of the road mileage maintained by counties has either an earth or loose aggregate (gravel) surface.

In all regions more bridges were considered structurally deficient than functionally obsolete. In looking at sufficiency ratings under the national Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP), 31.9 percent are considered structurally deficient and 11.5 percent functionally obsolete for a total of 43.4 percent in need of replacement or rehabilitation. It should also be noted that about 83 percent of all local count/town bridges are located on off-system roads.