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Old 07-17-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
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Are Mid-west roads as bad as they appear?

When we do Google street view to check out the roads in several places in Illinois and Iowa we see a lot of apparent repaired cracks in the road (or are they expansion joints?) which looks like they will be really rough driving. Is that pretty common? Are the Interstates better? We thought we would avoid highways to make it a more leisure trip but rough roads would not be too relaxing!
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:19 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lnanne View Post
When we do Google street view to check out the roads in several places in Illinois and Iowa we see a lot of apparent repaired cracks in the road (or are they expansion joints?) which looks like they will be really rough driving. Is that pretty common? Are the Interstates better? We thought we would avoid highways to make it a more leisure trip but rough roads would not be too relaxing!
The roads are pretty bad everywhere. Interstates are hit and miss. California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas interstates are particularly bad. I'm currently in Oregon and they are better. Basically, the U.S. infrastructure is 20 years behind in needed repairs. If you see a sign that says "Bump" or "Rough Road" it means slow down to under 20 mph and sometimes 5 mph.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:30 AM   #3
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The roads in the Midwest are better than the roads in WA.

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Old 07-17-2016, 10:59 AM   #4
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When we do Google street view to check out the roads in several places in Illinois and Iowa we see a lot of apparent repaired cracks in the road (or are they expansion joints?) which looks like they will be really rough driving. Is that pretty common? Are the Interstates better? We thought we would avoid highways to make it a more leisure trip but rough roads would not be too relaxing!
Which roads in Iowa are you looking at? It varies quite a bit as to road conditions. Iowa just raised the state fuel tax a year or so ago and is aggressively repairing/replacing roads and bridges. Nearly all states are playing catch-up on infrastructure repair/replacement. Some states (especially out east) are in a lot worse condition than others.

We did I-80 from Des Moines across Iowa and Illinois three years ago and I don't recall any really bad sections. I-80 is heavily traveled however, lots of trucks. The rest areas have been rebuilt and are very, very nice.

I also use Google Street View to check roads (and campgrounds and gas stations) on our routes.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:17 PM   #5
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Midwest? Apparently you haven't been to California or Louisiana recently. Bad roads are the norm in most areas of the country. Reduced funding has stretched many states highway repaving and repair schedules.

As for the joints, yes many highways, especially those built with concrete, have both expansion/contraction & control joints. Those joints are not usually rough driving over as long as both sides maintain the same level. Its usually at bridges & elevated roadways where those joints can have one side higher than the other, and create a bump driving over. Sometimes where a newly constructed section meets up with an old section, you can have a slight elevation difference.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:28 PM   #6
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We traveled secondary roads 95% of the time during our 16 years of full-timing. We felt they were in very good condition.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:45 PM   #7
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The Midwest has some of the most extreme temperature variances in the country -20 in the winter and 95+ in the summer. Those temps cause the road surfaces to expand and contact many times per year. If you are seeing lines perpendicular to the pavement, that is expansion and contraction control joints. Those can be uneven and very annoying in an RV. If the cracks are randomly placed all over the pavement surface (kind of looks like a blood sot eye) that is where the highway crews have filled cracks with tar to keep the moisture from getting in and expanding and contracting. Those are normally smooth and unnoticeable except for you go dizzy looking at them. Hope that helps.....Happy Trails...
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:17 PM   #8
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I have to laugh in agreement about roads everywhere. We haven't traveled much past the I5 corridor (CA to Canada) which is why I asked about the routes we're considering taking. I do remember how bad CA roads were in particular - couldn't believe it.

Yes there are some highways in WA that aren't doing well but for the most part I haven't noticed it being particularly bad so if you think WA is worse then perhaps it just looks worse than it will feel!

To those who asked "where" - it just seemed like every route I tried with Google street view (trying to avoid Interstates for a more relaxed drive) I ran into roads that looked like the attached pictures (if the attachments work). Admittedly this section of 67 was one of the worst and not representative of the rest I saw!
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:36 PM   #9
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Every day you tow or drive down a road that is smooth count your blessings, cause most are not going to be that way. Some states are better, some are worse, so be prepared. Fact is if you want to travel you are just going to have to put up with it.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:51 PM   #10
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You haven't been on bad interstate till you've been to Indiana. I thought they dug a moat across the bridge abutments. I am convinced that was the demise of my front wheel bearing.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:12 PM   #11
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You haven't been on bad interstate till you've been to Indiana. I thought they dug a moat across the bridge abutments. I am convinced that was the demise of my front wheel bearing.
...or I-10 through Louisiana. Of course, the highway is built over swamp so it is built differently.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:29 PM   #12
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Come to Utah, we have two kinds of roads. Those with pot holes, loose asphalt, etc and those that are narrowed down to 1 or 2 lanes for construction / repairs. I am not sure the construction crews aren't pre-installing new potholes as they go.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:39 PM   #13
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To those who asked "where" - it just seemed like every route I tried with Google street view (trying to avoid Interstates for a more relaxed drive) I ran into roads that looked like the attached pictures (if the attachments work). Admittedly this section of 67 was one of the worst and not representative of the rest I saw!
Those roads look like they may actually be smoother riding than some of them around here. (Oklahoma)
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:51 PM   #14
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California is experimenting with blowing money on replacing perfectly good solid concrete highway on I-8 From the Arizona border to El Centro. Been driving that road way regularly for the last 2 years. Very smooth. This spring, they decided to dig up all that offending smooth concrete and replace the entire roadway. Right now they are concentrating on the east bound lanes with all highway traffic sharing the west bound lanes in single lane fashion. There are 3 11-12 mile zones they are blowing money on right now. Can't wait to see what's next our there in the CA desert.
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