Albany's roads are in worse condition than most in the Bay Area, according to a report released this month by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
The Pothole Report: Can the Bay Area Have Better Roads? gives Albany's 59 total lane miles a score of 60, out of a possible 100, for its 2010 Pavement Condition Index.
The index includes five possible conditions: very good, good, fair, at-risk and poor.
The MTC determines that 60 points, the lowest ranking in the "fair" category, is the threshold at which deterioration accelerates rapidly and the need for major rehabilitation increases.
Albany's roads are among the worst in Alameda County, followed only by Berkeley, San Leandro and Oakland.
Region-wide, the Bay Area scored 66 points out of 100. The report concludes that the condition of the 42,500 lane miles of local streets in the Bay Area is "only fair at best," with serious wear and impending need for improvement.
The results are the same as the 2009 reading, and within two points of readings going back to 2006. This leaves the region "mired in a mediocre-quality range," according to the MTC.
While well-maintained pavement could help the Bay Area meet state environmental targets by increasing fuel economy, the report adds that the task of improving the region's roads "is more daunting — and more expensive — than ever."
Bringing Bay Area roads up to a "good" rating of 75 points or more would require $25 billion through 2035 — a cost that is three times higher than the current $351 million spent annually on road maintenance.
The deterioration of a road begins with the daily impact from vehicles — particularly heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses — which eventually causes surfaces to crack. Water leaks through the cracks and erodes pavement strength, eventually causing interconnected networks of cracks known as "alligator cracking." These deep crevices are the culprits behind potholes.
Some of the best roads in the Bay Area can be found in Brentwood, Belvedere, Dublin, Los Altos and Foster City — which each have a "very good" score, above 81 points.
The worst areas were in Rio Vista, Larkspur, Sonoma County, St. Helena and Orinda, with "poor" scores in the 40-range.
The Pothole Report also calls for what MTC calls a "Complete Streets" approach to road renovation, which encourages , as well as drivers.
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