Webinar to examine effect of shale-gas development on rural roads

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The impact that natural-gas development in deep shale formations has on rural Pennsylvania roads will be the focus of a free, Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

To be presented at 1 p.m. May 16, "Shale Energy Development's Effect on the Posting, Bonding and Maintenance of Roads in Rural Pennsylvania" is part of a monthly series of one-hour webinars.

Mark Gaines, representing PennDOT's Bureau of Maintenance, Operations and Roadway Management, and Tim Ziegler, of the Penn State Larson Transportation Institute, Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, will discuss what heavy vehicle traffic servicing shale gas fields has done to roads.

"The session will be an overview of recent amendments to bonding requirements for overweight haulers who utilize weight-restricted state routes," Ziegler said. "We will cover what those changes are, who will be affected, those individuals and businesses that qualify for exemption on certain routes and what new procedures are in place."

Ziegler said much of the discussion in the webinar will focus on Letters of Local Determination -- also known as LoLD. The presentation will examine how requirements on posted municipal routes differ from those of the state routes and how this difference can affect overweight haulers, municipalities and contractual agreements on these roadways.

"The number of weight-restricted roads has dramatically increased in rural Pennsylvania over the past five years, with many of the roads located in the economically stressed Northern Tier," he said. "The restrictions have the potential to overburden many traditional businesses that rely on heavy hauling and currently are experiencing an economic downturn."

The presentation will cover recently enacted changes PennDOT has made to the bonding requirements for overweight haulers that utilize weight-restricted state routes and will specify how these changes might affect certain businesses and municipalities, Ziegler noted.

It also will highlight the responsibilities and options for businesses that need the transport of overweight loads over roads with posted weight limits.

"If you are a municipal official who is experiencing heavy hauling over your local roads, participate in this webinar and learn what your options are to protect your roads and your financial interests," Ziegler said. "You also can determine responsibility for potential road damages."

Presented by Penn State Extension's Marcellus Education Team, the monthly natural-gas webinars usually are offered from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. An upcoming webinar will cover:

-- June 20: Natural Gas Liquids Regional Development, James Cutler, CEO Appalachian Resins.

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics, such as Act 13; seismic testing; air pollution from gas development; water use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; gas pipelines and right-of-way issues; legal issues surrounding gas development; the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland; stray gas migration; and gas reserves in the Utica Shale formation.

Registration for this webinar is not necessary, and all are welcome to participate by logging in to the website. For more information, contact Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or cal24@psu.edu.

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Last Updated May 10, 2013