The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has begun to study the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on state roads to decide how much money the industry must contribute to repave and improve road conditions.
Drilling companies have invested approximately $411 million for road repair since 2008, but some statistics and testimonies by state police officials suggest that the bar should be raised based on the amount of damage caused to the roads, as well as the lack of regulation for the booming industry.
Of the 5,800 roadside inspections of industry trucks since January 2010, state police documented 13,000 driver and vehicle safety violations. About 42% resulted in the truck or driver being taken out of service – nearly twice the national average. Some of the violations were maintenance-related, including faulty brakes, lighting, and improperly secured cargo.
Since 2008, more than 4,000 miles of state roadways have been posted with weight restrictions. PennDOT requires drilling companies to apply for permits to drive the heavy trucks on weight-restricted roads, in an effort to regulate traffic and monitor the effects on its roads. It also inspects the roads weekly and notifies the companies when repairs are needed.
Drilling companies must also obtain "driveway permits" to access the roads that lead to drilling sites. However, some companies are not securing these permits and are contributing to the destruction of these roads.
PennDOT will look at the issue of damaged roads due to Marcellus Shale drilling on a county-by-county basis, but there remains no timetable to complete the study.
For more information about bad road conditions caused by Marcellus Shale drilling, visit EdgarSnyder.com.