Sunday, March 14, 2010

Towanda Daily Review Editorial Reveals Crisis: Roads Are Crumbling

This is not a dirt road, dear readers. This is a paved road- Fallbrook Road- in Troy, PA. As spring approaches, the country roads of Bradford County are in deplorable condition.

This year the roads in Bradford County are far worse than ever before. The Daily Review is sounding the alarm.
More roads are in far worse shape than perhaps ever before, in large part because of the battering from heavy trucks, many of which are in the area tending to the burgeoning natural gas industry...Where is our leadership? Where is our lightning rod? Entangled in politics? Individual road masters, township supervisors and residents are left to howl in the wind. There is no coordination. Who will step up with thoughtful, reasoned insight?
Last Thursday at the county commission meeting (March 11) a Burlington town supervisor by the name of Mr. Grant came to speak, seeking relief from this serious problem. The commissioners, according to the Daily Review editorial, suggested that Mr. Grant go to a county committee meeting on natural gas next week. It sounds like the Bradford County commissioners, Mark Smith, John Sullivan, and Douglas McLinko, would like to avoid dealing with this road demolition taking place in their county. The DR editorial is not at all satisfied with this approach:
Meanwhile, the county crumbles. Safety is imperiled. Lifestyles are jeopardized.
This isn't just a question of a little inconvenience. Sure, drivers can slow down and dodge the potholes. No, this is a safety issue for drivers. "Safety for cars, safety for small trucks, safety for school busses carting children, and safety for big trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles."

Strangely, the DR claims that no one foresaw such a rapid expansion of prospecting and drilling- and infrastructure deterioration. This is very hard to believe! Everyone in Bradford County knows about the bad roads even without factoring gas drilling. Everyone knows about the hard winters and spring thaws which have always had a huge impact on the condition of the roads. It's no secret that many of the rural roads are subject to a ten-ton limit. How are these huge trucks to get back and forth to the well pads? By flying through the air? Weight restriction signs are popping up like mushrooms everywhere. PennDOT says more than 60 county roads are posted to date. But are there enough police to enforce these weight limits? Are there enough police to arrest speeders from the gas industry? It is doubtful. Well pads and pipelines are in the planning stages right now. The problems of road wear and tear and the inevitability of accidents and fatalities are with us now.
Behemoths lumber down the highways, somw oversized, some overweight and, in too many cases, going too fast. They include 5,500 gallon and larger water tankers, flat beds to haul equipment, and dump trucks to haul material, all of which clog the roads, and grind the pavement. Crashes are more and more common. State police are levying unheard of fines for illegal loads running in the tens of thousands of dollars.
What will it take to address this crisis? Why is a severance tax on gas drillers even a debatable issue? The county leased public lands to the gas industry. It's time for action to protect the public against this very destructive pursuit- that of extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale.

Read the whole editorial from the Towanda Daily Review here.



Anonymous said...

Tens of thousands of dollars? That's a drop in the bucket for these companies.

Anonymous said...

PS These trucks are SO big and SO heavy. What did people expect to happen to the roads? It would be odd if these roads did NOT crumble under the stress.

Peacegirl said...

Good question!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just making a note that quarry truck have been causing just as much damage to road as gas truck. Where is the outrage? Why do they get away with it?