County expands road protections to gas wells, plants

WARREN – Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith’s Office has expanded the way roads and bridges are protected from repetitive, heavy truck traffic from the gas and oil well industry.

Standards specific to horizontal drilling – bonds or letters of credit for infrastructure improvements and liability insurance – have been extended to existing and potential gas and oil processing facilities in the county, like injection wells or compressor stations.

Smith said it was a ”non-issue” previously, but with the increased truck traffic related to other parts of the drilling industry, ”we started to see problems.”

Smith said Warner Road in Fowler began deteriorating because of the truck traffic to an injection well north of state Route 305. Core samples taken of the road and analyzed showed that it was failing. It was posted at 15 tons, meaning vehicles heavier than that were prohibited from traveling the road, so Heckmann Water Resources, which operates the well, agreed to the maintenance agreement to upgrade the road.

”When you start to see those challenges that are well related and start to be problems with the road, we going to start asking those companies to accept the responsibility,” Smith said.

Jack Simon, the office’s road maintenance use agreement coordinator, said the bond amounts will be specific to the route length. The new agreement is tailored after one used in Carroll County.