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Truckers Rate Nation's Best and Worst Roads.

Business Editors & Transportation Writers

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 13, 2000

Who else would be the best judge of the nation's Interstates, highways and roads than the people who travel on them the most - long haul truck drivers. Overdrive, the 40-year-old leading industry magazine for truck drivers, has announced results of its annual survey of the nation's best and worst roads.

Arkansas again takes the dubious honor of having the worst stretch of highway, while Florida is home to the best piece of Interstate.

"Truckers are experts on roads," said Linda Longton, editor of Overdrive magazine and vice-president editorial for Randall Publishing Co. "They spend more than 300 days each year on the road hauling 60 percent of all U.S. freight. I don't know of any other travelers that would know our roads better."

Rough Roads in Razorback Country: Arkansas roads voted worst again

Arkansas' I-40 from Fort Smith to the Mississippi River, where it meets Memphis, Tenn., was voted the worst road segment in the Nation for the second year in a row.

"State road blacktop was rutted so deeply it would jerk the steering wheel, throwing the truck into the other lane," says Irvin Halter, a truck driver from Virginia. Halter decided to take a short cut through Arkansas while running from Detroit to Dallas, but lost four hours instead. Irvin said while traveling I-40, he had to tighten his seatbelt to keep his head from hitting the roof of his cab.

Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, was not surprised by the survey results. "We've known for 15 years that Arkansas would receive this dubious honor," Kidd says.

Truckers also identified Arkansas highways as the worst overall. A few factors that make these roads the worst are potholes, patches, cracks, traffic and construction.

Respondents voted the following as the worst roads by segment:
-- I-94 in Chicago

-- I-10 through Louisiana

-- I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis


This was the third consecutive year that Arkansas' I-40 has been voted the worst stretch of road and the second year that Arkansas roads have been voted worst overall.

In voting by state, Arkansas was followed on the worst roads by Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New York and Michigan (tie).

Truckers' voices heard: Most improved roads

On the upside, the truckers acknowledged states that had made investments in their highway systems. The states with the most-improved roads included:

-- Pennsylvania

-- Louisiana

-- Texas

-- Illinois

-- Florida

Maybe next year Arkansas will make this list. Nearly all of 1-40 between Fort Smith and Little Rock is scheduled for a $350 million resurfacing plan, with repairs beginning as early as this year.

Specific road segments that praised for most improvements since last year were I-80 and I-81 through Pennsylvania, I-20 through Louisiana, I-55 through Illinois and I-10 through Texas.

Smooth Rides in the Sunshine State: Florida's roads are best in the Nation

Florida has finally moved into the top spot in Overdrive's Best, Worst Roads survey. The state has never held the No. 1 position until this year. Others finishing out the top states with the best roads are Tennessee, Texas and Georgia (tie), Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Pennsylvania is especially happy with this ranking because the Keystone state previously held the No. 1 spot as the state with the worst roads for seven consecutive years (1991-1998). The $400 million generated from an increase in state vehicle registration and the bulk purchase of fuel, plus the additional $400 million from the Federal Transportation Equity Act of 1998 no doubt helped pave the new and improved roads on I-80.

Respondents voted for the best roads by segment, and those included are:

-- I-75 through Florida

-- I-75 through Georgia

-- I-10 through Texas

-- I-40 from Memphis to Knoxville

-- I-39 from Bloomington, Ill. To Rockford, Ill.

The 13th annual survey produced a response rate of just over 15 percent. Approximately 30 percent of respondents drive throughout the 48 contiguous states, and the rest haul within a specific region.

Survey participants were Overdrive readers with a mean average of 21 years of commercial driving experience, including 14 years as owner-operators of their own trucks. Overdrive readers are high school graduates (91 percent) and most are 35 years old or older. The 120,000-circulation monthly for long-haul truckers is known as "The Voice of the American Trucker."

Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Randall Publishing now publishes over 30 magazines, directories and periodicals, and maintains over 25 websites. Randall employs more than 500 people in 16 states, and has annual gross revenue of more than $70 million. Randall was recently named sixth fastest growing publishing company in the nation by Folio: magazine.

Randall Publishing operates the Trucking Media Group, Construction Media Group and Industrial Media Group. The Trucking Media Group publishes Overdrive, Trucking Co. and Truckers News magazines. The Construction Media Group publishes Equipment World, RentSmart!, and the Equipment World Spec Guide. The Industrial Media Group publishes Pumps & Systems and Modern Woodworking magazines. Randall also owns and operates a number of online media entities, trade shows, radio programs and other media oriented services.

In addition, Randall publishes Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and manufactures and markets a complete line of recognition and motivational products, promotional items and award materials through the Award Company of America. Northbrook Publishing in Waukesha, Wisconsin, another Randall company, is a leading publisher of company-sponsored publications serving several Fortune 500 clients; and Equipment Data Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina is another Randall company. EDA is a data collection and analysis company for various industries.

For more information, contact Alison Holt, PR Manager for Randall Publishing Company: 800/633-5953, ext. 1428 or aholt@randallpub.com.


 Overdrive magazine's 13th annual Best, Worst Roads survey result

Worst Roads by state
1. Arkansas
2. Illinois
3. Pennsylvania
4. Louisiana
5. New York, Michigan (tie)

Worst Roads by segment
1. I-40 through Arkansas
2. I-94 in Chicago
3. I-10 through Louisiana
4. I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis
5. I-30 from Little Rock to Texarkana, Ark.

Factors that make these roads the worst
1. Potholes
2. Patches
3. Cracks
4. Congestion & traffic
5. Constant construction

Best Roads by state
1. Florida
2. Tennessee
3. Texas and Georgia (tie)
4. Pennsylvania
5. Indiana

Best Roads by segment
1. I-75 through Florida
2. I-75 through Georgia
3. I-10 through Texas
4. I-40 from Memphis to Knoxville
5. I-39 from Bloomington to Rockford, IL

Most Improved by state
1. Pennsylvania
2. Louisiana
3. Texas
4. Illinois
5. Florida

Most Improved by segment
1. I-80 through Pennsylvania
2. I-20 through Louisiana
3. I-55 through Illinois
4. I-10 through Texas
5. I-81 through Pennsylvania
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