The Impact of Marcellus Gas Development on the Rural Transportation Infrastructure

Deterioration was observed to occur in the wearing surfaces, decks, and parapets for all seven of the structures inspected. To date, little to no deck condition change was observed compared to the reviewed inspection reports. However, the oldest bridge in this study was noted to be carrying the highest volume of Gas Play truck traffic and manifested some structural deterioration that was not included in the most recent Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) inspection survey. This involved the bridge’s superstructure and substructure showing sagging bridge beams. For all other bridges, an increase in traffic as a result of the Gas Play was not shown to significantly change the condition of the superstructure or substructure in the bridges. Bridge 4 received extensive rehabilitation in 2009. After the one-year interval that followed, this study found deterioration to the wearing surface, parapets, and approach slab. All roadways had varying amounts of cracking regardless of Gas Play traffic activity, which generally increased with increased truck traffic. Rutting significantly increased as Gas Play activity increased and was the most common form of deterioration encountered. Secondary and municipal roads have experienced significant deterioration due to the enhanced heavy truck traffic. Full-depth reclamation is being employed as a cost-effective rehabilitation methodology by the gas companies. Reconstruction of dirt and gravel municipal roads has commonly been undertaken without the benefit of good design guidelines. To address this shortcoming, the authors developed and presented a simplified design methodology for the reconstruction of this class of roads. The enhanced heavy truck traffic has a weak correlation to increased severity of traffic accidents. Limited data and lack of a good baseline for comparison limit the strength of associated observations. Focus on the direct impact of drilling (e.g., archaeological survey) on cultural resources, while important, doesn’t address important down-the-line impacts. As roads are rebuilt and improved, historic and prehistoric survey is critical but there are not specific resources and staff available for these issues. Local heritage leaders are currently bearing the full weight of the new issues associated with Marcellus development. Creating resources for local and regional leaders is important, so that they can develop long-term planning strategies for cultural resource management and preservation.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pennsylvania State University, University Park

    Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
    Research Office Building
    University Park, PA  United States  16802-4710

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Scheetz, Barry E
    • Linzell, Daniel G
    • Murtha, Timothy
    • Donnell, Eric T
    • Jovanis, Paul P
    • Pietrucha, Martin T
  • Publication Date: 2013-7-31


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 79p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01489993
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: PSU-2010-05, LTI 2013-13
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0003
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2013 1:00PM