By Bruce Barr, CFM
CIP GIS Analyst
Economic activity is good for the state, regional, and local economies, but comes with a price tag. Damage to county roads due to extensive oil and gas exploration continues, unabated, especially in the shale plays in the state, like the Barnett and now the Eagle Ford shale. With over a million active wells operating at the beginning of 2012, the impact on those county roads for 2012 was immense.
While more than 30 percent of oil and gas activity has been in the shale plays since 2009, over 300,000 oil and gas wells are still pumping in the Permian Basin, or have been re-opened using new techniques.
Members of the Texas County Engineers and Road Administrators (TACERA) also point out that there are other industries in Texas that have nearly equally damaging effects on county roads. For years, county governments in East Texas have worked with logging truckers to recoup monies for the maintenance and upkeep of the county’s infrastructure, and Texas’ seaports have been identified as another source of high county road damage with large transporters moving goods and materials from one port to another.
In all, over 31,000 county road miles are exposed in the counties with shale play activity while 21,000 county road miles are affected in the counties with logging activity and nearly 12,000 county road miles are affected in the counties with seaports.