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10 Worst Pothole Cities in America

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The most infuriating places in the country for street holes and pavement gaps

After a long, hard winter, it can seem like potholes are everywhere. Anyone who lives in states that get a lot of snow in the winter months knows how irritating these mini-craters can be. For drivers of cars using coilovers, potholes are pure evil. They wreak havoc on your car’s suspension and your nerves. Every year, The Road Information Program (TRIP) compiles data to determine which cities most need help on their roads. If you’ve got a fragile car and wish to avoid repairs, you may want to avoid these. Let’s start with number 10…

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10 Cities in America with the Most Destructive and Pervasive Potholes

10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

oklahoma city road
Oklahoma City roads see a lot of action and a lot of potholes 
Photo: Sylvain L.

Though it is taking action when it comes to potholes, an estimated 47 percent of roads in Oklahoma City are still in poor condition. It may be last on our list, but it’s still made the top 10.

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

new orleans pothole
Neighbors constructed this sarcastic pothole reminder for drivers in uptown New Orleans 
Photo: Karen Apricot

The Big Easy is not at all easy on cars. Many of its streets were designed before the automobile and never truly updated, and the city still feels the aftershocks of Hurricane Katrina. The pothole pictured above is located in uptown New Orleans, where neighbors have constructed a creative warning for motorists. Looks like he’s hard at work.

8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee potholes
A view of Water Street in Milwaukee, potholes in view
Photo: Jeramey Jannene

In 2013, it had 667 potholes. A year later, that number climbed to 997. That’s a 50% increase in a single year! With such a sharp rise you’d think people were going around attacking the pavement willy-nilly with sledgehammers. Here on Water street, you can see the roads are speckled with holes and old repairs.

7. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport pothole
A gaping pothole in a downtown street
Photo: _chrisUK

More than half of the roads in Bridgeport are in poor condition, which makes it no surprise that if you Google “bad roads in Bridgeport,” one of the top results is an ad for a lawyer who wants to help injured motorists file lawsuits.

6. New York, New York

NYC Pothole or Garbage Can?
Pothole or garbage can? New Yorkers settled on both
Photo: shoehorn99

Rent is only one of the things that make living in the Big Apple expensive. Every year, the average motorist spends a whopping $2,300 on auto repairs due to poor road conditions. The pothole pictured above in NYC has been upcycled into a convenient trash can.

5. Tucson, Arizona

Tuscon Pothole
This pothole on Lee Street has taken over this Tucson road
Photo: matsubatsu

Its road problems extend beyond just potholes: rutting, depressions, and raveling roads are so common that it would cost about $850 million to fully repair it all—and not quickly, either. It would take 10 years. Many residential streets are like Lee Street, pictured above.

4. San Diego, California

San Diego Pothole
Primo Vannicelli, San Diego resident, takes matters into his own hands
Photo: Voice of Sandiego, Adrian Forido

Not only are roads so bad in San Diego that they cost motorists an average $1,900 a year on vehicle repair, their poor design causes them to be stuck in traffic for about 37 hours a year! Primo Vannicelli, San Diego resident, was fed up with waiting for the city to fix a giant pothole on his street, so he did it himself (pictured, above).

3. San Jose, California

San Jose Pothole
A large pothole dominated the street in San Jose.
Photo: Joe Carpenter

Back in 2010, it was considered the city with the worst roads in America, but it has unfortunately been beaten for the worst possible reasons: not because its roads have gotten better, but simply because the two above have gotten that much worse.

2. San Francisco, California

san francisco pothole
Biking becomes hazardous among potholes in San Francisco streets
Photo: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Another major Californian city at the top of this list with more than 60% of its roads in poor condition. Local bike enthusiasts have become active in preventing these hazards, taking photos and sending in requests to the city to fix large potholes.

1. Los Angeles, California

los angeles pothole
One of many large potholes in Los Angeles
Photo: Al Pavangkanan

With approximately 64% of all roads in the city in poor and mediocre condition, the City of Flowers and Sunshine should really be renamed to the City of Potholes and Ruts. Predictably, Los Angeles tops our list of Worst Pothole Cities in America.

So there we have it. The top 10 cities you probably want to avoid if you don’t want to repair your car following a barrage of pothole encounters. Maybe our politicians should watch more John Oliver when it comes to pothole repair.


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