Study Says Each PA Well Creates $5-$10K+ in Road Damages

A new study recently published in the peer reviewed Journal of Infrastructure Systems from a half dozen students and professors, some of them working for RAND Corporation, attempts to answer the question, How much road damage due to truck traffic happens in Pennsylvania–and how much does it cost? The study, titled “Estimating The Consumptive Use Costs of Shale Natural Gas Extraction on Pennsylvania Roadways” (full copy embedded below), was submitted for consideration a year ago–in March 2013. It was accepted by the Journal in November and finally published in their February 2014 issue.

The folks doing the research are smart–members of the American Society of Civil Engineers–we don’t dispute their credentials. What did they find? Using estimates of how many truck trips it takes to drill a well from data collected by the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (yes, NY data where there is no shale drilling), the authors estimate that for more frequently traveled state and local roads in PA the damage amounts to an average of $5,000 to $10,000 per well drilled. If you include less-traveled rural roads, that number jumps to $13,000 to $23,000 per well average…

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