Metro road conditions will worsen at current funding levels

The cost to keep road conditions at status quo in the greater Des Moines metro area is $40 million annually over the next 10 years, a new report finds.

That’s at least $10 million more than the average annual total spent collectively by metro-area governments on road maintenance over the past six years, according to the Pavement Quality Forecasting Report released today by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

FrontCover“This report puts a much-needed price tag on a known issue – additional investments are needed in order to maintain the roadways we already have,” said Tom Hockensmith, Polk County supervisor and MPO chair.

Maintaining road conditions is a regional goal established in Mobilizing Tomorrow, the region’s long-range transportation plan. To advance this goal, the MPO used 2013 Pavement Condition Index data and pavement-condition-forecasting software to analyze the effects of different funding scenarios through 2023. Key findings of the Pavement Quality Forecast Report include:

  • 82 percent of metro-area roads were in fair, good or excellent condition as of 2013, using the Pavement Condition Index;
  • 18 percent of metro-area roads are in poor or very poor condition as of 2013, using the Pavement Condition Index;
  • Current road conditions vary among 16 metro-area cities, as do the road conditions that are forecast for 2023 based on the cities’ current funding levels for road maintenance;
  • 44 percent of the roads in concentrated areas of traditionally underserved populations, defined as Environmental Justice Areas, are in poor or very poor condition. These areas include persons 65 years old and older, persons with disabilities, persons with limited-English proficiency, non-white population, persons in poverty, carless households and single heads of households with children;
  • 26 percent of roads are in poor or very poor in areas that are NOT Environmental Justice Areas.

For more information, please call or email MPO staff at 515-334-0075 or