Fracking to Take a Heavy Toll on Roads

It’s all over the news right now — the collateral damaged caused by fracking, or the propulsion of chemical compounds into the earth’s crust to release natural gas.

Contaminated water and earthquakes have been found to follow the trail of injection sites — which are concentrated over a large natural gas deposit, known as the Marcellus Shale, in the inland regions of the Northeast, spreading as far west as Ohio.

The fracking industry is expected to bring fleets of heavy trucks to upstate New York, at a high cost for local roads. Image: News Daily

And if that wasn’t bad enough, add one more con to the list. According to a document leaked from the New York State Department of Transportation, fracking is going to be caustic for area roads.

Nadine Lemmon at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Mobilizing the Region blog reports:

Transportation advocates should also be concerned, as the fracking industry’s impact on New York’s roadways could be quite extreme. The fracking industry would take a huge toll on New York’s roadways. It would introduce substantial truck traffic to rural roads that weren’t designed for such heavy vehicles and, moreover, would make upstate communities’ streets noisier and more dangerous. The roads’ capacity and flow constraints have serious implications for safety and operations, and the increased traffic would inevitably lead to expensive maintenance and refurbishing. The industry could bring 1.5 million heavy truck trips annually and increase peak traffic by 36,000 trips/hour.

The New York State Department of Transportation has studied the subject and reached these same conclusions. In August, a leaked agency document outlined the “ominous” effects that fracking could have on the state’s roads and bridges—that’s where we got our data.

“Pavement structural damage done by the passage of a single large truck is equivalent to that done by about 9,000 automobiles,” reads the report.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland reports that under fiscal constraint the city of Portland might withdraw financial support for “Sunday Parkways” events, the city’s version of Ciclovia. The Bike League shares a study that reveals important information about casual Capital Bikeshare users. And Transit Miami reports that Miami Beach will break ground tomorrow on a bikeway that was decades in the making.