• Amanda Loutitt

Road Maintenance and Shale Gas Development


Road maintenance is often a significant financial burden to municipal governments. In

Pennsylvania, many of the state’s older and rural roads were not designed to sustain heavy

traffic, heavy machinery, or trucks loaded with heavy equipment – all of which are

associated with shale gas development.


Significant Costs of Road Maintenance

Municipal governments work to maintain their roads through activities like sealing cracks in

roads, filling potholes, and rejuvenating newer roads so that they stay pliable for longer

period of time. However, at one point or another, roads become damaged and need to be

replaced through a process where the existing pavement is milled (taken out) and new

pavement is installed. Milling and paving can be expensive; the costs can vary year to year

as the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act is updated and oil prices change.


Using real prices and quantities from a 2016 road project bid from Bridgeville Borough, PA

to illustrate the probable costs of replacing a road and assuming a two lane road is 6 yards

wide, Bridgeville paid roughly $191,000.00 for a portion of road about 0.82 miles long.


Acting to Protect Municipal Investments

Under Pennsylvania Code 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 49 (more commonly known as the P.A. Vehicle

Code), local governments are authorized to post and bond roads to protect roads from

excess damage caused by heavy haulers.


After performing both an engineering and traffic study on specific roads, local governments

can place vehicle weight and size restrictions on roads and bridges that would suffer

excessive damage from vehicles transporting weights over and above the posted limit. If a

hauler wishes to use posted roadways and his or her equipment exceeds posted weight

limits or size restrictions, the municipality may enter into a bond agreement that makes the

hauler responsible for excess road damage created by their activities.


Most permits issued to companies involved with shale gas development are Type Two

Permits which allow for one company to have multiple vehicles travel on a designated path.

PennDOT sets the bond amounts for posted roadways; with a Type Two Permit, haulers

must provide security in the amount of $6,000.00 per mile for unpaved roads and

$12,500.00 per mile for paved roads.


Once a municipality enters into an Excess Maintenance Agreement with haulers and the

security bond is in place, permitted road users become responsible for road maintenance

and repairs. Bonded roads are monitored for degradation. If the permitted haulers do not

repair roads in accordance with the Excess Maintenance Agreement, the local government

can revoke permits until the roads are repaired or take the security bond.


For more information about bonding roads, consult the additional resources below:


Pennsylvania Vehicle Code - 75 PaCSA Section 4902

PennDot Posted and Bonded Roadway Program

PennDot Publication 221: Posting and Bonding Procedures for Municipal Highways


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