North Carolina is poised to begin issuing permits to allow hydraulic fracturing later this year.
Supporters of shale gas exploration say it will bring much needed jobs to North Carolina. But it could also bring some real headaches for local municipalities and the state Department of Transportation.
A new report by the DOT projects that more than 1,600 trucks could be required for a single fracking site putting a tremendous strain on bridges and roadways.
Reporter John Murawski writes in today’s News & Observer:
The department is projecting nearly $11 million in maintenance and repairs in one example cited to the state legislature in an agency study of traffic impacts resulting from shale gas drilling.
The DOT study, dated Dec. 31, requests changes in state law to make it easier to require private industry to repair public roads damaged during fracking operations.
“The volume of traffic can and does cause significant damage to secondary roads over a relatively short period of time,” the report says. “The majority of this traffic occurs over a period of six weeks.”
Fracking remains under moratorium in North Carolina, but the first drilling permits could be issued as early as April.
Each drill site will require 1,290 to 1,650 trucks, DOT estimates, based on the experience with fracking in Bradford County, Pa.
Will lawmakers respond and make the fracking industry cover the costs of those repairs? Stay tuned. The NC General Assembly convenes next week for its 2015 session.
To read the full article in Raleigh’s News & Observer, click here.