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Texas is thought of by many Americans as the heart of the oil industry. The current oil boom has seen production grow massively in the lone star state, and as oil companies have flocked to drill in Texan oil fields, they have taken with them money that has helped to boost the region’s economy.
Whilst it maybe a common belief that the oil boom has benefitted Texas greatly, it has actually brought problems to many local residents, as the increased traffic has begun to severely damage infrastructure and the environment.
As new fields are developed and the energy company-realted traffic increases, many farm-to-market roads in East and South Texas have been badly damaged, and affect such a large number of roads, that despite the supposed higher revenues earned by the state, the Texas Department of Transportation claims that it does not have the funds to make the necessary repairs. In fact it estimates that the cost of maintaining and repairing the roads use by tankers and trucks travelling to and from the oil fields is around $1 billion a year.
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It may seem only fair that those same energy companies damaging the roads in order to benefit from the oil, should be charged to pay for repairs, but any efforts to increase taxes on the companies have so far failed to find the necessary support.
Roads in Texas are damaged by heavy traffic supplying the oil industry. (KSAT.com)
Last month the Texas Department of Transportation announced that it intends to solve the problem of the damaged roads by converting more than 80miles of paved roads into gravel paths, with the conversion expected to begin on Monday the 19th of August.
David Glessner, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, explained that “since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads.”
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According to the Texas Tribune, Glessner said that the 80 miles of road to be converted into gravel paths were picked because they are rural routes inegible for federal funds.
State Senator Carlos Uresti, has been against the conversion plan since the beginning, and says that by failing to consult local lawmakers and communities, “the agency (Texas Department of Transportation) imposed a unilateral solution on these communities with no notice, no opportunity to seek alternative solutions, and no clear understanding of what to expect in the future.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com
They are talking about the back country lanes. I spent a lot of miles in the dust and mud on those back country roads. When a drilling rig is transported too or from a sight they will destroy the road base under a paved lane. a drilling rig is huge and very heavy. I see no way they can be broken down into lighter loads. The oil companies should just have to repair the road after removing the rig. That would be a fair solution.
I would hate to see all the country lanes revert back to gravel roads which are more expensive to maintain. They have to be graded several times a year, are dusty and a rain turns them into a mud nightmare. Let alone all the dust mom has to put up with in the house. In 35 years I saw many of my back roads go from mud and dust trails to paved lanes and my job got a lot easier.
Step Two: Texas DOT on the road with portable scales 24/7 and truck detours to funnel them across the scales.
Step Three: Heavy "overweight" fines on a. truckers and b. companies that loaded the materiels onto the trucks.
Similar problem in WV with Marcellus natural gas. Not just the drillers (few of whom stepped up to the plate and repaired their dammages)but also with the production take-away via OTR tankers. The process here may repeat for DECADES.