Eagle Ford Traffic Deaths Increase 13%

TxDOT Continues Road Improvements
Gravel Road In The Eagle Ford

Gravel Road In The Eagle Ford

Texas oil regions saw a surge in traffic deaths in 2014 including 272 people who died  in traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford. According to TxDOT, this is an increase of 13 percent over 2013, where 240 people were killed in the 26-county region.

Overall in the Eagle Ford last year, there were 3,658 traffic accidents in which people were killed or seriously injured, up from 3,446 the year before. This is a high percentage of the 8,600 accidents reported statewide.

Related: Another Fatal Crash in the Eagle Ford

Roadways have continued to deteriorate over the past few years as more traffic and heavy trucks damage roads and make for unsafe conditions. Over the years, several several efforts have been put into place to address the road conditions including assembling a task force in 2012 and TxDOT’s Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign that was launched over the summer.

TxDOT spokeswoman Laura Lopez said that “The number of deaths have increased. We want to remind folks, especially in the energy sector areas, to watch out for those 18-wheelers. And the same message to those in the 18-wheelers, ‘Watch out for vehicles.’ ”

The San Antonio New Express reports that there is a recent surge in road construction across the oil regions to improve conditions and make things safer. Several projects underway in the Eagle Ford include repairs of $5.8 million to Texas 97, FM 1099 and FM 1344 in Wilson and Atascosa counties as well as widening and repair of FM 1916 in Dimmit County at a cost of $999,000.

Eagle Ford Boom Bad News for County Roads – KENS-TV – Video

Less than 1% of Right of Way Royalties Returned to Local County Governments for Road Maintenance

The Eagle Ford oil boom has been a boon on the Texas economy, injecting billions of dollars in revenue from oil & gas companies into the state’s budget. By contrast, local county governments have not seen parallel increases for their coffers, although money derived from local tax revenues and drilling fees, in some instances, have padded local county budgets.

Read more: Riches from the Eagle Ford Boom – Video

One of the most serious problems for local county governments is a direct result of the increased traffic on their roads. According to a recent KENS-TV story, it takes 1,200 18-wheelers  to set up a rig, and another 350 trucks during the life of the rig for maintenance. Karnes County and DeWitt County, which are both in the heart of the oil window of the play, have consistently had active rig counts between 20 – 30, since the beginning of the year, which has equated to a lot of traffic on roads not designed for such heavy loads.

In the past 3 ½ years, $28,000,000 has gone directly to the state through right of way royalties, but less than 1% has been returned for road maintenance. Karnes and DeWitt County have forked over $16-million during the same time frame, according to the report.

Local county officials are fed up with not receiving what they feel is more adequate funding from the state for road maintenance in their areas. Now, there is talk about a coalition of county governments being formed to demand more money from Austin.