The worst roads

Boston is known for its bad roads in terms of traffic and navigation. But what places around Boston have the worst roads to drive on?

Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving and I recently drove to North Carolina, and we drove over some of the smoothest highways we have ever known. Ironically, it was the toll roads in New Jersey that were in the worst shape outside of Massachusetts. On our way home from Raleigh, we hit a bumpy patch on a county road and I said, "This is the first bad road we've been on." True, southern roads aren't beset with the freeze-thaw phenomenon that occurs in colder climates like Boston, but there's more that plague road surfaces than temperature changes.

I was reminded of my North Carolina observation tonight while driving through Dedham. Having grown up south of Boston I have known Dedham my whole life, and in all that time I can never remember Dedham ever paving certain roads. Whether it's East Street, High Street, Bridge Street, Emmett Avenue, River Street, and some of the side streets, they all seem bad. Only the stretch of East Street from the rotary in Endicott to the rotary at Route 128 is decent, and if memory serves that required a Proposition 2 1/2 override to pay for it. The town also repaved Court Street and put in a clever roundabout to slow traffic, and it also put in some great traffic-slowing measures in front of the Riverdale School. But don't drive on Pine Street in front of Noble and Greenough School, because you won't have much of a suspension when you're done.

So, tonight, as I'm driving over Pine Street, I wonder what Dedham does with its excise tax and state road money. Towns are supposed to use money from the state gas tax, which in government speak is called Chapter 90, and excise tax (at $25 per thousand of car value) to pay for road and sidewalk improvements. I don't have the town's budget in front of me, but I bet the state kicks in a few million gas dollars every year. And if only one third of the town's roughly 30,000 residents have a car registered in the town, there's still several hundred thousand in revenue. That must be able to pay for a grind-and-resurface job on a few roads every year.

I'm opening it up to my reader (singular=self-deprecating joke) to decide. Put in your two cents on which town has the worst roads. Runner up in my book is probably Braintree, but I haven't been there regularly in awhile. I know Washington Street was repaved in a major rebuild, but before that it was garbage.

Your comments don't have to be about a town, they can be about a specific road or stretch of road.

I'm up in Melrose, and I know they had a large pile of road improvements tied up pending federal funding that came as part of that pork-laden transportation bill that congress recently passed.

Post a Comment