“The energy sector provides a tremendous economic boost to the state of Texas, but it must be supported in a manner that is safe to everyone on our roadways,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood. “Our decision today will get much-needed work started so that we can improve travel for drivers on these roads.”
In 2012, crashes in Texas’ five energy sectors (Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Barnett Shale, Granite Wash and Haynesville/Bossier), rose by 6 percent over the previous year, while fatalities rose 13 percent.
“While increased energy exploration and production activities are yielding tremendous economic benefits for Texas, the unprecedented volumes of heavy traffic are contributing to crashes and fatalities,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “We are pleased that our commission agreed to fund some of these safety-focused rehabilitation and repair projects.”
Overall, the $150 million project, set to begin in spring of 2014, will improve mobility and address safety concerns by widening damaged roadways to better accommodate the increased volume of heavy vehicles. Focused on the Corpus Christi, Laredo, San Antonio and Yoakum districts, Austin-Angel, JV will reconstruct or resurface 27 roadways and bridges in most need of restoration.
Today’s $150 million award follows September’s $75 million dollar allocation that allowed repairs to begin in the Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Odessa and San Angelo districts. With this action, all $225 million provide by House Bill 1025 has been awarded to construction projects.
More about roadway needs in energy sector
As the Texas oil and gas industries help move the United States toward energy independence, the state has identified more than $400 million in immediate roadway safety needs such as repairs to severe edge damage on narrow roadways, deep rutting and pavement damage caused by the increased traffic associated with these activities. Estimates show an additional
$1 billion per year is needed to restore roadways heavily impacted by energy development to “good” or “better” conditions.
With more than 80,000 miles of highway, Texas has the largest highway system in the nation. In addition to the booming energy industry, Texas grows by more than 1,000 new people each day, further crowding the state’s aging transportation system. The increasing number of vehicles combined with the state’s aging highways will continue to require a balanced program of preventative maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction.