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At the Inquiry Answer Service, we answer, on average, more than 300 questions for our subscribers each month. We consult a variety of sources to create a custom research packet — which may include APA publications, sample ordinances and plans, articles and literature from partner organizations, and the most current information available online — for each question.
Each month, we choose one question to feature here, so you can see what your peers around the country are asking and how we answered. When your organization subscribes to PAS, you and your colleagues will also have access to previous editions.
Do other localities require intensive uses to repair damaged roads?
A natural gas pipeline will soon be constructed through our region, and we are concerned that the heavy equipment associated with that construction will destroy our rural roads, most of which are gravel roads with a substandard base. Do any local planning departments require repair of damage to local roads due to an intensive permanent or temporary use?
A number of communities have adopted road repair and maintenance provisions in their local codes. These provisions require project applicants or operators to assume responsibility for damages to local roads that result from heavy equipment operations relating to their activities.
Common contexts for such requirements include general construction on a project site, transport of forestry or mining products, wind energy conversion system development, or oil and gas extraction activities: situations where the hauling of heavy equipment by large trucks over rural roads often unpaved and not engineered or constructed to handle such loads can result in extensive damage to the local road network. A number of briefing papers and reports have recently been published exploring this issue for wind farm and oil and gas development; they recommend that communities proactively address this issue to protect their local infrastructure.
Ordinance provisions addressing road repair and maintenance responsibilities can take a number of forms. In some cases, the local government requires a performance bond or financial guarantee to cover any repairs or maintenance that might be required as a result of excessive road usage. Other codes state that applicants or operators are responsible for repairs.
Still others may condition permit approval on a signed road maintenance and repair agreement. Such agreements are being used in many communities with recent wind energy or oil and gas development. They typically require applicants to describe which roads they plan to use, provide a baseline road condition survey against which future road conditions and maintenance or repair needs can be assessed, and obligate applicants to pay the costs of any repair or maintenance needs resulting from their use of those roads. In some cases, applicants must agree to upgrade any roads or bridges that are currently unable to support the proposed usage. The example from Chenango County, New York, provides an especially detailed and extensive policy and agreement.
- Allen (Texas), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 6, Health and Environment; Article IX, Oil and Gas Wells; Section 6-408, Road Repair Agreement or Road Remediation Fee. www.municode.com/library/tx/allen/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Carroll (Ohio), County of. "Roadway Use and Maintenance Agreement for Pipeline Projects and Infrastructure." http://carrollcountyohio.net/images/RUMA_PIPELINE_rev_09_2013.pdf
- Chenango (New York), County of. Resolution No. 227-10: Adopt Road Preservation Use and Repair Policy. www.co.chenango.ny.us/planning/natural-gas/documents/Road%20Preservation%20Use%20and%20Repair%20
- Concordia (Louisiana), Parish Police Jury of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 21, Roads and Bridges; Article II, Use of and Damage to Parish Roads; Section 21-32, Indemnity Agreement and Bond for Use of Roads Authorized. www.municode.com/library/la/concordia_parish_police_jury/codes/
- Contra Costa (California), County of. 2015. Ordinance Code. Title 8, Zoning; Division 88, Special Land Uses; Chapter 88-3, Wind Energy Conversion Systems; Section 88-3.416, Permit – Roadway Fund Required – Repairs. www.municode.com/library/CA/contra_costa_county/codes/ordinance_code
- Cross Creek (Pennsylvania), Township of. 2014. "Road Use and Bonding Agreement." www.crosscreektwp.org/uploads/ROAD-USE-AND-BONDING-AGREEMENT.pdf
- Dakota Access, LLC, Pipeline Project. 2015. "Agreement and Authorization." Part 4, Agreement as to Road Use. www.santel.net/~sdtown/doc/Pipeline_Agreement_Authorization_MASTER.pdf
- Elbert (Colorado), County of. 2014. "Master Road Use Agreement: Agave Oil & Gas – HAAS #1-29." www.elbertcounty-co.gov/docs/Recorded_Agave_MRUA_2014.pdf
- Fort Worth (Texas), City of. "Road Repair Agreement Between the City of Fort Worth and ____." http://fortworthtexas.gov/uploadedFiles/Development/rdrepair.pdf .
- Greene (Georgia), County of. 2012. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 22, Roads, Sidewalks, and Other Public Places; Article III, Heavy Equipment, Machinery and Vehicles on County Roads and Rights-of-Way; Section 22-58, Surety Bond. www.municode.com/library/ga/greene_county/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Laketown (Michigan), Township of. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 38, Zoning; Article IX, Wind Energy Conversion Systems; Section 38-646, Road Repair. www.municode.com/library/mi/laketown_township,_(allegan_co.)/codes/
- Leetsdale (Pennsylvania), Borough of. 2014. Municipal Code. Chapter 300, Zoning; Article X, Oil and Gas Exploration; Section 300-72, Road Use and Drill Site Access. www.ecode360.com/LE1891
- Lemon (Pennsylvania), Township of. 2009. "Roadway Use and Maintenance Agreement." www.steubencony.org/Files/Documents/pa-rua-lemon_township.pdf
- Lincoln (Wisconsin), County of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 17, Zoning Code; Division 17.3, Land Use Descriptions and Standards; Section 17.3.08, Industrial Land Uses; part 9, Metallic Mineral Extraction Use; subpart j. www.municode.com/library/wi/lincoln_county/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Livingston (Illinois), County of. Code of Ordinances. Part II, Land Use, Planning and Utilities; Chapter 56, Zoning; Article VIII, Wind Energy; Section 56-618, Design and Installation; part j, Use of Public Roads. www.municode.com/library/il/livingston_county/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Marti, Michael, and Richard Kronick. 2010. Best Practices: Managing Interaction Between Local Authorities And Major Traffic Generation. Minnesota Department of Transportation, Local Road Research Board. www.dot.state.mn.us/stateaid/projectdelivery/pdp/pavement/best-practices-guide.pdf
- Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2010. Effects of Major Traffic Generators on Local Highway Systems. Prepared by CTC & Associates. www.dot.state.mn.us/research/TRS/2010/TRS1001.pdf
- New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal. N.d. "Protecting Our Local Roads." www.nymir.org/pdf/NYMIR%20Marcellus%20Roads%20FINAL.pdf
- Randall, C.J. 2010. Hammer Down: A Guide to Protecting Local Roads Impacted by Shale Gas Drilling. Working Paper Series: A Comprehensive Economic Impact Analysis of Natural Gas Extraction In The Marcellus Shale. www.greenchoices.cornell.edu/downloads/development/shale/
- Richland (Pennsylvania), Township of. 2014. Municipal Code. Chapter 27, Zoning; Part 7B, Nonresidential Uses by Special Exception; Section 27-743, Gas and Oil Wells; parts A & B. www.ecode360.com/RI2434
- Walton Hills (Ohio), City of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Part 8, Business Regulation and Taxation Code; Title 2, Business Regulation; Chapter 864, Oil and Gas Wells; Section 864.05, Performance Standards. www.amlegal.com/library/oh/waltonhills.shtml