Chesapeake Energy Invested $92 Million in Pa. Roads Last Year

2 March 2011

Chesapeake Energy spent more than $92 million last year to maintain and improve roads in northeastern Pennsylvania where its rigs and trucks travel as the company extracts natural gas from Marcellus Shale.

The Oklahoma-based energy company said it has repaired and upgraded about 300 miles of roads on 40 state routes and 80 township roads throughout Bradford, Wyoming, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties.

Chesapeake works with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local road supervisors to identify roads that need repairs or upgrading to handle the heavy truck traffic associated with drilling.

In Bradford County, about 100 miles of roads have been repaired by Chesapeake, said Michael McWilliams, spokesman for PennDOT's road maintenance in Towanda.

The majority of the work involved full-depth reclamation work in which equipment removes and grinds the original road surface material, mixes it with concrete and reapplies the material on the roadway.

Other roads in the county, repaired at Chesapeake's expense, were resurfaced or had the original pavement removed before a new road surface was put down, McWilliams said.

As a result of the increased use of the county's road by heavy truck traffic associated with the natural gas industry, PennDot has posted 10-ton weight limits on many of the county's smaller road.

"We did very little road postings prior to the gas drilling," he said.

He added that Chesapeake has signed excess maintenance agreements with PennDOT that requires the company to patch roads where it's been determined its trucks caused the damage.

"We've also talked to them about the road projects planned for this year," he said. "We don't have a list yet, but we will have it in the near future."