Extensive Road Damage by Marcellus Vehicles Calls For Timely Repairs

by Duane Nichols on November 8, 2011

Heavy truck traffic is continuing to ruin the roads of Wetzel county, with the current focus on American Ridge Road, causing  it to deteriorate into a gravel road.  Each driller is to get bonding to cover damages. Under the state’s new “Oil and Gas Policy,” drillers are required to post an additional $1 million road bond to operate in West Virginia. The bond would only be $250,000 if the company chose to operate just in District 6, which includes Wetzel, Tyler, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties.

American Ridge resident Jim Holler said the drillers need to address these matters sooner rather than later. “It’s not just the dust and the potholes that concern the citizens living along this road as much as it is the lack of concern for the residents to fix the major safety issues exhibited by the gas company,” said Holler. “What will it take to push this company to fix the roads? Maybe, it’s time the state revokes their bond, shutting down their operations until these roads are repaired and at least brought back to the asphalt state they were before they began.”

The district highway engineer says that Stone Energy is expected to pay for road damages, that Chesapeake Energy has been upgrading roads in Wetzel county and CONSOL (incl. CNX Gas) is repairing roads in the northern panhandle.

Generally, roads and bridges in West Virginia are in need of better maintenance. Dashle Kelly, a doctoral fellow at WVU, has proposed that WV implement user fees on the roads throughout the State to collect adequate monies to repair and maintain the roads and bridges.  He says that the existing Road Fund has been depleted so not enough current tax revenue is available.

In fact, as reported earlier here, the Morgantown Industrial Park road is in such poor condition that the local newspaper in its September 1, 2011 editorial said that the “industrial park road cannot wait until next year for repairs.”  In addition to pavement wear, there is subsidence of the ground under the road as a result of the weight of the vehicles and as a result of natural slippage.

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