The oil and gas boom in Texas has produced an unintended effect: The state plans to covert some roads to gravel to save money.
The oversized vehicles and overweight loads used by energy companies has had a devastating impact on many roads, but the state has not appropriated enough money to fix them.
The Texas Department of Transportation began converting more than 80 miles of paved roads to gravel on Monday, according to the Texas Tribune. The speed limit on the new gravel roads will be reduced to 30 mph.
Texas lawmakers approved $225 million for the repair of roadways and bridges within the state highway system this year. Texas lawmakers also approved a ballot measure that would provide $1.2 billion a year for state transportation projects. If approved by voters in 2014, the measure would divert money from the state’s rainy day fund to the state highway fund.
But the Texas Department of Transportation said $400 million was needed to repair immediate damage caused by energy sector traffic across the state. The department said it needed an additional $1 billion per year to keep the roadways in good condition. It won’t get that funding until next year.
“Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads,” spokesman David Glessner told the Texas Tribune.
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