15 of the 'Worst Highways in America'

The Congress for the New Urbanism's "Freeways Without Future 2021" report leverages the current political moment by spotlighting 15 U.S highways for removal.

2 minute read

June 15, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Williamsburg Bridge

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is at the top of the Freeways Without Futures 2021 list. | Ryan DeBerardinis / Shutterstock

The Congress for the New Urbanism earlier this month released the "Freeways Without Futures 2021" report, the seventh iteration of the report that lists "the worst highways in America."

An article on the CNU Public Journal blog details the purpose the report—arguing for the removal of highways as a path to community revitalization and economic development. These are the freeways, according to the report "that have left a terrible legacy and incredible hurdles for the people who live around them."

"The highways featured in this report for too long have served as a barrier between neighborhoods and polluted nearby communities, more often than not home to African-Americans and other people of color," according to the article. "Now, with these highways reaching the end of their designed lifespans, it is time to repair the damage and channel the benefits to members of the current community."

The article places the report in context of the potentially radically transformation of U.S. infrastructure priorities as a primary motivator of the Biden administration's American Jobs Plan. "The Biden administration is pursuing a federal highway removal program as part of the American Jobs Act that, if passed, considers for the first time the social and economic ramifications of highway infrastructure and both acknowledges and repairs the damage that federal infrastructure projects have caused."

The article also claims that many cities have already removed some of the worst highways in the country—as evidenced by Planetizen's "Freeway Removal" tag as well as an article by David Leonhardt for the New York Times, published just days before the most recent "Freeways Without Futures" report.

Without further ado, here is the list of 15 total highways, with more details for each highway on the other side of each link below:

Local news coverage followed the release of the "Freeways Without Futures 2021" report, including the following:

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