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Our look at

Other than water issues, one of the greatest impacts Marcellus Gas Drilling has on the general public is truck traffic. If you travel the interstate highways in Southwestern Pennsylvania, it's not uncommon to count a dozen brine tankers during a 60 mile trip. Other times there will be convoys of trucks headed to fracking operations, whether they are frac pump trailers or tractor trailers hauling hundreds of loads of sand.
There have been numerous incidents of oversize loads (mostly too tall) damaging bridges in SW Pennsylvania. One concrete bridge on an interstate highway was damaged badly enough that it had to be demolished. Another bridge faces repairs and/or demolition. The fracking of one Marcellus gas well can require 1,000 truck trips, and most drilling sites have 3 to 10 wells, raising the total of truck trips to between 3,000 and 10,000.  


Truck convention during a frac meet near Washington Pa

Local municipalities require bonds on roads to help ensure repair of busted-up blacktop and culverts. It is less clear how this heavy truck traffic helps pay for the repair of state roads, since most of these vehicles are licensed out-of-state, either in Texas or Oklahoma.

Fracking Boom Has Had Devastating Consequences For Motorists

Oct 15, 2014 - Increased traffic fatalities in communities adjacent to fracking operations are by no means a phenomenon limited to Texas. The Associated Press analyzed traffic deaths and US census data from six different drilling states and found that “in some places, fatalities have more than quadrupled since 2004 — a period when most American roads have become much safer even as the population has grown.”

“This boom is different from those of the past because of the hydraulic-fracturing process, which extracts oil and gas by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals,” the AP reports. “It requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well to deliver those fluids. Older drilling techniques needed one-third to one-half as many trips.”


After Interstate 70 being open for over 40 years, Washington, Pennsylvania had to recently rewrite the rules for an exit ramp due to all the gas drilling truck traffic exiting there. Trucks must now go up one more exit and loop back around to remedy the hazardous situation created by truck traffic backing-up onto the interstate highway.

Oversize Load with part of a drilling rig


Drilling rig section passing a wastewater tanker in the gas patch


Pipeliner truck traffic
Wastewater tankers have taken over the roads in the gas patch!
wastewater tankers
pipeline truck traffic


Tri-axle hauling stone to a gas drilling location
Large quantities of limestone are needed for
well pad and access road construction
Large trucks have trouble cutting country corners

Sediment is the largest pollutant by volume in Pennsylvania's streams, degrading water quality, smothering vegeta
tion and destroying fish habitat. The highest density of dirt roads in the state coincides with the richest spots for Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Roads should be constructed with several drainage cross pipes and diversion points.
Reporter Laura Legere of THE TIMES-TRIBUNE


This corner has been repeatedly repaired and rerutted
Interstate truck traffic from Marcellus Shale activities
Wide loads are now a common sight in Pennsylvania
Convoy of Marcellus Shale trucks headed to a frac job

Rigs rerouted on I-70

By Linda Metz, Staff writer
Washington, Pa.
August 29, 2009

Truck drivers traveling from Interstate 70 west to Route 18 in Washington will no longer be allowed to use the Jefferson Avenue exit.

Instead, beginning Sept. 4, truckers will be diverted to the Jessop Place exit and back onto I-70 east, where they then will use the eastbound Jefferson Avenue exit to get into Washington and to Routes 18 and 844.

"For quite some time, we've been trying to figure out some creative ideas to make that traffic flow better," said state Department of Transportation traffic engineer Rachel Duda.

Motorists familiar with the exit know that traffic often backs up onto I-70, causing safety hazards on the busy highway.

And Duda said that while attempts to ease the congestion have been made in the past, there really is nothing that can be done other than detouring trucks from using the exit.

According to Duda, the backup is caused by the exit's sharp bend and the two traffic signals at the bottom that are located within close proximity of each other.

After several engineering studies and traffic counts, including one completed within the past six weeks, it was PennDOT's decision to permanently close the westbound exit to truck traffic.

"The eastbound off-ramp can accommodate all the vehicles without impeding Interstate 70," Duda explained.

She added that the traffic restriction is permanent, at least until a final solution to the traffic problem can be determined.

"Unfortunately, there are businesses located on either side of the exit that makes it unable for the road to be widened," Duda stated. "There's not much else we can do."
'Residual Waste' tankers haul flowback,
produced water and regular water
Frac sand tractor trailer on a small country road
Typical disintegration of an asphalt road from heavy truck traffic
Weight limits are often ignored by heavy trucks

Excerpt from the NY State study done
on truck traffic for one gas well site

New York State DEC

Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program

NTC Consultants (NTC) estimated required truck trips per well for the noted phases requiring transportation as follows:

Drilling Rig Mobilization, Site Preparation and Demobilization

  • Drill Pad and Road Construction Equipment 10 – 45 Truckloads
  • Drilling Rig 30 Truckloads
  • Drilling Fluid and Materials 25 – 50 Truckloads
  • Drilling Equipment (casing, drill pipe, etc.) 25 – 50 Truckloads
  • Completion Rig Mobilization and Demobilization
  • Completion Rig 15 Truckloads

Well Completion

  • Completion Fluid and Materials 10 - 20 Truckloads
  • Completion Equipment (pipe, wellhead) 5 Truckloads
  • Hydraulic Fracture Equipment (pump trucks, tanks) 150 - 200 Truckloads
  • Hydraulic Fracture Water 400 - 600 Tanker Trucks
  • Hydraulic Fracture Sand 20 - 25 Trucks
  • Flow Back Water Removal 200 - 300 Truckloads
  • Well Production
  • Production Equipment 5 – 10 Truckloads
Frac tank being hauled on the interstate
Low dumpsters are used to haul drilling waste
Fracking convoy clogging city streets
   Oversize Load exiting a small country road with damaged
10-Ton weight limit bridge in photos below
Sign clearly indicating the weight limit on Main Street,
the road the truck is seen entering above.
Bridge damaged from heavy truck traffic for gas projects
Oversize loads (like the truck pictured above) have been regularly
crossing this small bridge that is posted with a
10-ton weight limit
Sign at the opposite end of Johnson Road:
Weight Limit 10 Tons
1-1/4 Mile Ahead
Bridge damage from heavy trucks and oversize loads
Bridge damage - Is the guardrail the only thing damaged?
Check out the cracked concrete in the bridge abutment.


Oversize Load turning onto Westland Road
(Rt 519) in Hickory Pa
Liquified petroleum gas going to market
Liquified Petroleum Gas tanker slowing traffic
on Rt 50 between Avella and Hickory, Pa
Gas drilling road damage
Alligator cracks in a asphalt country
road from heavy truck traffic
Smith Transport Well Services Division Residual Wastewater tanker
Residual Waste Tanker
Two residual waste tanker trucks on Jefferson Avenue in Washington Pennsylvania
It is quite ordinary to see more than
one wastewater truck at a time
Gas drilling tractor trailers
Two big rigs wait to enter snow covered drilling location


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