Assessing the Impacts of Shale Oil and Gas Developments on Rural Texas Highway Infrastructure

While shale oil and gas developments have been a boom for the Texas economy, these developments have taken a toll on low-volume roads. Impacts of truck traffic on roads in the Eagle Ford and Barnett Shale plays and the Permian Basin are obvious in the cracks, potholes, and other major distresses. Many of Texas' Farm-to-Market, Ranch-to-Market, and local county roadway systems are not designed to withstand the heavy loads and higher traffic volumes arising from energy development. Rapid development of energy resources will continue to strain agencies until measures are taken to implement infrastructure impact plans, road-user agreements, or other measures to rehabilitate affected roadways. This paper uses case studies to explore four approaches for partnerships between energy companies, county officials, and other organizations. The proactive, performance-based approach strengthens pavements prior to energy development. The reactive, performance-based approach assesses impact fees associated with road maintenance after the damage. The third approach assesses impact fees that are not attached to actual roadway deterioration. The fourth approach uses policy changes to the Texas Transportation Code which allows counties to promote transportation infrastructure projects affected by oil and gas production activities. Funding for this approach arises from grants. The authors discuss what is currently being done in Texas and suggest recommendations for future work. With future exploration expected throughout, execution of agreements and creative reimbursement procedures will be critical to maintaining adequate levels of service and preserving working relationships between the energy industry and county governments charged with preserving roadway assets.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 643-653
  • Monograph Title: Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01535280
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413654
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2014 3:01PM