Road Damage

THE OIL and gas industry is making an impact all throughout Southeastern Ohio.

Drilling operations and spin-off businesses are popping up with unbridled regularity. The economic benefits are obvious and escalating. In that regard, the future takes on a bright look.

All is not rosy, however, with the oil and gas industry in our area. Many roads are falling into disarray under the weight of the continuous wave of heavy trucks in conjunction with the business.

Harrison County is deeply entrenched in the oil and gas boom. County officials are pleased with the economic spike realized through oil and gas. However, they also are disturbed by the toll being taken by county roads.

Studies indicate it can take anywhere from 400 to 1,300 truck trips to complete one gas well. Some individual trucks weighed as much as 80,000 to 100,000 pounds when fully loaded.

It would prove nearly impossible for roadways not to suffer damage from such a constant pounding.

Harrison County commissioners are taking steps to ensure the best for their roadways.

Commissioner Dale Norris spoke during the shale safety meeting this week, calling on oil and gas companies doing business in the county to honor road use and maintenance agreements (RUMAs) for routes protected under such contracts.

Fellow Commissioners Don Bethel and Bill Host stood firm with Norris Wednesday, as the board voted unanimously to table all four RUMAs presented at the board’s regular meeting.

Harrison County officials walk a tightrope in this issue. They welcome the revenue and development that oil and gas offer. But the commissioners also are obligated to go to bat for their constituents, ensuring county roads are properly maintained.

Oil and gas companies are going to realize massive profits in Harrison County. They need to channel some of that money back into the roads they travel.