Potholes, ruts and large cracks litter the pavement, making for rough travel and increasing the risk of an accident. Are these roads under construction? No, but they are under an incredible amount of stress from high volumes of large truck traffic – all of which they were not designed to support.
Yes, it is another side effect of the drilling boom in Texas and growth of activity in the Eagle Ford and Barnett Shale play areas. The roads surrounding these highly-trafficked areas are quickly crumbling under the burden and sheer volume they are receiving.
Not only are these poor road conditions leading to more car accidents on some of these roads, but the increased truck traffic is also leading to an increase in deadly trucking accidents – particularly around the Eagle Ford Shale area.
And as long as there are more trucks on the road and dangerous road conditions persist, so does this increased risk of accident.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than $2 billion in road repairs need to be made across the state – solely because of added traffic from drilling activity.
But where is the money going to come from? For many of these rural roads, the costs are typically borne by the counties. But counties note that the property taxes collected may not be enough to offset the cost of repairs. Should the oil and gas companies be required to help repair the infrastructure that they have damaged?
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Eagle Ford counties facing a rough road toward repairs,” 10/7/12.