Highway Pavement Condition

How well are we maintaining our state highways?

Highway Pavement Condition

Highway pavement condition, measured by the share of highway lane-miles flagged as “distressed” by Caltrans, reflects the regional pavement quality on the highway system.

Our region built one of the nation’s most robust highway networks during the 20th century. But we now face a challenge – preserving thousands of miles of pavement across all nine counties. Thankfully, in recent years, the trend is moving in the right direction. While one in three lane-miles of Bay Area highways were flagged as being in distressed condition at the start of the millennium, today nearly 80 percent of the system is in fair or good condition.

Regional Performance
Bay Area highways are smoother than ever.

The percentage of Bay Area highway lane-miles with pavement in distressed condition fell from about 29 percent in 2011 to 21 percent in 2013, the lowest level registered in at least 15 years. Much of the improvement is due to a series of repaving projects along Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 101 and other major routes made possible by state funds delivered through the 2006 Proposition 1B bond measure and the 2009 federal stimulus package.

The Bay Area’s smoothest highways generally are found in suburban portions of the region – in particular, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties. Heavy use of urban freeways in San Francisco has resulted in pavement conditions far worse than other Bay Area counties. Though San Francisco routes account for just four percent of all distressed highway pavement in the region, 37 percent of the highway lane-miles in the city are in poor shape.

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Historical Trend for Highway Pavement Condition - Bay Area

Local Focus
Pavement preservation for the region’s busiest freeways has been prioritized over other state highways.

The Bay Area’s best highway pavement conditions generally are found on major freeways, with Interstates 80 and 280 as well as US Route 101 standing out in particular. This is beneficial for drivers in the region as these facilities have some of the highest traffic volumes of any road in the Bay Area. Pavement quality is significantly lower on many non-freeway routes, with 58 percent of the 226 lane-miles on State Route 82 (El Camino Real) and 35 percent of State Route 1 in distressed condition.

2014 Highway Pavement Condition

Select a corridor on the map for more information.


Highway pavement condition
  • Distressed
  • At Risk
  • No Minimum Service Life
  • Good/Excellent

California Department of Transportation: State of the Pavement Reports (2000-2013)

California Department of Transportation: Highway Pavement Condition Inventory (2013)

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Image: MTC Library, Photographer: Michele Stone (ID# P1030696)

Methodology Notes: 

Caltrans datasets only include regional performance on a historical basis and rely on "distressed" lane-mileage as an indicator for poor pavement condition. The geospatial data for 2013 provides the condition on each lane-mile for each segment of roadway; data on a corridor basis reflects a sum of all lane-mileage for that corridor.