Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Taxpayers foot huge bills to pay for road repairs caused by trucks from fracking sites, study says

A boom in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas has increased truck traffic in rural areas where most roads are not heavily traveled and can't take the punishment. Researchers from RAND Corp. and Carnegie Mellon University examined the impact of extra truck traffic in the Marcellus Shale area in Pennsylvania, finding that the cost of repairs rose significantly in those areas, Leighton Walter Kille reports for Journalist's Resource. (Marcellus Effect photo: Fracking trucks in Bradford County, Pennsylvania)

The study, published in the Journal of Infrastructure Systems, found that trucks carrying heavy loads, 18,000 to 30,000 pounds, "do about 900 times and 7,500 times more damage than a 3,000-pound single axle pass, respectively,”  Kille writes. "The estimated road-reconstruction costs associated with a single horizontal well range from $13,000 to $23,000. However, Pennsylvania often negotiates with drilling companies to rebuild smaller roads that are visibly damaged, so the researchers’ conservative estimate of uncompensated roadway damage is $5,000 and $10,000 per well," a figure that falls on the state to cover. In 2011, "the statewide range of consumptive road costs for that year was between $8.5 and $39 million." (Read more)

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