Assessment of Impact of Energy Development Projects on Local Roads

TitleAssessment of Impact of Energy Development Projects on Local Roads
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWilke PW, Harrell M
Conference NameAnnual Conference of the Transportation Association of Canada
Call Number32
KeywordsCommunities, Costs, Energy, Industry, Road networks
Oil and gas development has been an important part of the economy of western Canada and the 
United States for decades. Recently there has been resurgence in the development of natural gas 
and other alternative energy sources, including wind farms, throughout North America. The 
development of wind farms require movement of very heavy equipment over low volume, rural 
roads that were often not designed for such loading. The development of natural gas wells, 
especially those utilizing hydro-fracturing, requires movement of large volumes of moderately 
heavy trucks over similar rural roads. Many local municipalities and provincial highway 
departments are concerned about the impact of this truck loading on the life of their roadway 
This paper summarizes the impact of energy development projects on local road networks. A 
method to estimate the cost impact of various types of trucking on pavements is presented. 
Additionally, methodologies are presented to: quantify pavement conditions before and after 
wind farm/oil and gas well development traffic; determine the need for pre-development 
upgrades, and determine the repairs developers should make or the financial contribution they 
should pay at the end of the development period for the pavement life that has been consumed. 
Alternative technical approaches, ranging from simplified, conventional pavement testing to 
more sophisticated methods involving non-destructive testing that have been used recently are 
presented. Finally, the paper presents administrative issues to be considered in road use