NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The oil, gas and wind industries have been huge for the Texas economy. One result of that boom has also meant that the oversized tractor-trailers and other heavy equipment used in energy production are taking a terrible toll on Texas roads.
To combat the current and continuing problem a state task force is set to ask the legislature for $1.6 billion to fund road repairs and upgrades.
“Because it’s much cheaper long-term to pay, and armor those roads up by making them wider with shoulders and making them deeper with concrete, than it is to let a road deteriorate,” Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) executive director Phil Wilson said.
Wilson described the request for road repair and improvement funds as a proactive move. The weighty rigs have and are wearing down roads that weren’t designed to handle such big loads.
According to Wilson, every time a rig is drilled the increased traffic and weight of the vehicles amount to the equivalent of eight million cars driving on nearby roads. “So when you have the equivalent of 10 million cars drive on a road that creates a lot of stresses on a road that might have been built for 25 or 30 years [life expectancy] left. On its lifespan it may be down to five to seven years, or less,” he said.
Some energy companies have offered to help maintain roads battered by their industry.
TXDOT officials say the preemptive repairs would save the state some $2 billion a year.
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