Study Finds Montana's Roads Look Good In Comparison - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Study Finds Montana's Roads Look Good In Comparison

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KALISPELL -

Numbers from Smart Growth America seem to show that Montana's roads are looking pretty good in a nationwide comparison.

Not everyone agrees though.

Telling people a recent report says Montana's roads aren't too bad gets some strange looks, but it's true.

According to this report, only 7% of our roads were said to be in bad condition in 2011.

To the west, Idaho was more than double that at 17% and Washington-- even worse-- coming in at 27%.

"I think our network from cities all the way to the state highway department are in pretty darn good shape," said Dave Prunty, the Flathead County Public Works Director.

Prunty uses a budget between $6 and $7 million dollars every year.

$800,000 of that goes towards just winter maintenance.

"We're pretty happy with where we're at with the funding," said Prunty, "There's always more we would love to do."

From 2009 to 2011, agencies across the country spent some $36.9 billion repairing, building, and expanding roads.

Unfortunately that didn't seem to really do the trick because the report goes on to say that 21% of American roads were considered in poor condition in 2011.

Montana spent $161 million on road repairs and preservation in 2011. You'll probably see the bulk of that money being put to work these coming weeks.

"The snow pack usually does have such an effect and I see a lot of roads sink away depending on how bad of a year it's been and so when it's all melting you get to see a lot more of that," said Sage Brinkerhoff, a driver born and raised in Montana.

Prunty thinks our state's tourism industry might be behind some of these good numbers.

"If you're hauling your trailer of driving your Winnebago or whatever it might be, if you're coming through rough roads that may not be the most joyous idea," said Prunty.

Smart Growth America is a national organization devoted to bring better development to more communities nationwide.

It puts out reports on a lot of things like sidewalks, public transportation, and roads.

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