Report: Bay Area roads in poor condition

March 12, 2008 1:10:32 PM PDT
Bay area drivers are paying hundreds of dollars extra each year thanks to crumbling roads. A new national news survey says that Bay Area roads are on the top of the list when it comes to poor road conditions.

Transportation officials say they are not surprised to hear about this survey. They know they've got infrastructure problems and you don't have to go far to find them. At West Grand in Oakland, we found potholes everywhere. According to a survey, 62% of the roads in the Bay Area are in poor condition.

Every little dip your tire takes into a pothole is another big dip in your wallet. A new survey estimates that Bay Area drivers spend another $761 a year on car repairs, just because of the sorry conditions of the roads here.

"It's all over the Bay Area, you know. Richmond, Oakland, West Oakland, San Francisco, I mean, my suspension is kind of messed up right now from potholes and things," says Martin Dennis of Richmond.

A $761 per year figure puts the Bay Area in second place, behind L.A., on the list of urban areas where drivers spend the most on their cars because of lousy roads. San Jose came in fourth, where the roads cost drivers an estimated $746 dollars a year. This is according to the National Transportation research group called TRIP.

"I don't have that kind of money but what can you do? You have to go to work," says one Bay Area commuter.

And you'll probably have go to a Good Year tire shop, eventually. At the shop we visited, one car came in after hitting a pothole on Interstate 580. The service manager says repairs can cost up to $700. He says the roads keep his business hopping.

"It's definitely getting worse in the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland; all of them are pretty bad," says Good Year Tires service manager Cedric Hilliard.

This is a tough problem to overcome. The study says state and federal funding is falling short, while the cost of fixing the roads is going up. But, even the man making money from all of this would like to see it improve.

"Yeah, it's good for business, but they should fix it. I like to keep people safe. I'm concerned about that," says Hilliard.

In Oakland, the city is in the middle of a pothole patching blitz. Patching is one thing, but officials say repaving the entire road is tougher and inconvenient to drivers.

Who pays the most for road repairs?

  • $778 - Los Angeles,
  • $761 - S.F./Oakland
  • $760 - Honolulu
  • $746 - San Jose
  • $684 - San Diego