The toll of a $61 billion economic boom in South Texas can be seen on city streets and rural roads that criss-cross and provide entry and exits to the Eagle Ford Shale play. “Our infrastructure is just not designed for the big trucks or the traffic that we have now,” Nixon City Manager George Blanch commented to Austin’s Your News Now.
Nixon is a small town south of Austin that, despite the current oil boom, is lacking funds to keep up with the damage caused by the dramatic increase in truck traffic. Nixon’s Mayor noted that the city’s budget just doesn’t support the necessary funds to fix or maintain the shattered roadways that have buckled, cracked or born gigantic potholes under the weight of the oil and gas trucks.
The Texas Department of Transportation has also taken note of the toll caused by increased oil and gas truck traffic; as much as 83 miles of asphalt roads are lined up to be turned to gravel roads in the upcoming months. The roads are just too far gone to fix, TXDOT claims, and include roadways in both West and South Texas. Once turned to gravel, the speed limit on these roads will drop to 30mph.
The decreased speed limits should help control the increase in truck accidents tied to the oil and gas exploration truck traffic. Rather than hitting speeds north of 60 mph on rural, two-lane roads, the big rigs will be limited to traveling speed much safer for those entering and exiting the roadway or sharing the road with the hauling trucks.
Source:YNN, “As Texas oil booms, Texas roads go bust,” July 30, 2013