Road damage from truck traffic to Marcellus Shale drilling sites has overwhelmed the West Virginia Department of Highways (DOH) ability to respond, according to one DOH official.
District 6 engineer and acting manager Dan Sikora told The Intelligencer that roads in the Northern Panhandle weren’t designed for such heavy traffic, and some smaller back roads "are just gone."
Often, when a drilling job was completed, "there wouldn’t be anything left," he said. "It’s bad. It just got ahead of us. Nobody saw this coming."
The DOH doesn’t have the manpower or the money to fix the damage, but Sikora said oil and gas companies are bonded and are cooperating with the agency.
"They are committed, and they are out there working with us. Roads are being repaired according to the amount of damage," he said.
Work is currently being done on W.Va. 88 in Brooke and Ohio counties. State and federal roads such as U.S. 250, however, aren’t covered by bonding requirements.
Sikora noted that coal and logging trucks are also damaging area roads.*
The DOH has begun video taping roadways before major drilling projects begin to have video evidence of their condition prior to drilling.
*The Charleston Gazette (May 27, 2011) – DOH monitors drilling-related road damage