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Critical Assessment of the Literature Regarding the Public Costs of Roadway Damage Due to Fracking
  • Brent Ritzel, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Many government bodies have raised concerns regarding preservation of existing public roadway systems from infrastructure damage, and roadway degradation in particular, due to the impact of fracking-related truck traffic on roads that are simply not designed for that level and intensity of usage. This significant heavy usage imposes both immediate and long-term cost burdens on taxpayers, and can create unfunded liabilities for the wide range of levels of government (jurisdictions) responsible for maintaining the roadways (from township to federal). This acceleration in roadway consumption has manifested a financial need that is not easily funded by traditional fee mechanisms.

This paper’s purpose is to provide a critical assessment of the literature regarding the public costs of fracking-related roadway damage beyond what a given road system would sustain under normal traffic conditions, which would assist in accurate monetization of the roadway damage for assessment and predictive purposes. Utilizing the theoretical frameworks of prior published research studies and reports examined, relevant independent variables and their associated hypotheses are elucidated. These variables are identified as falling into two categories: physical factors (truck trips, fracked wells, well development phase, roadway type, roadway condition, and roadway improvement required) and fiscal factors (maintenance agreements, bonding, impact fees and additional appropriations).

Fracking will continue to strain jurisdictional resources at all levels of government until accountability measures in the form of comprehensive infrastructure financing mechanisms are in place. A recommendation of this current research is that the best practice approach to maintaining a community’s infrastructure and removing the tax payers from the equation during fracking is an industry-funded proactive armoring of the roadways, prior to the inception of energy development, that puts the full responsibility in the hands of the industry that plans on subjecting roadways to known undue heavy truck

  • hydraulic fracturing,
  • fracking,
  • roadway damage,
  • transportation,
  • public policy,
  • oil,
  • gas,
  • truck,
  • traffic,
  • water,
  • maintenance agreements,
  • impact fees
Publication Date
Spring April, 2015
Citation Information
Brent Ritzel. "Critical Assessment of the Literature Regarding the Public Costs of Roadway Damage Due to Fracking" (2015)
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