Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Roadways

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Scope: Many states are currently investigating the feasibility of hyraulic fracturing. IN addition to the untold environmental impacts, states are experiencing major road damage due to the size, weight and volume of trucks this process requires. The roadway infrastructure necessary to carry these vehicles does not typically exist in the rural areas where these companies drill. States like Pennsylvania have experienced major roadway damage, traffic congestion and other issues and learned very valuable lessons to share with other states.

The objective for the research would be to develop a  synthesis on best practices and lessons learned. This would include what types of legislation was necessary, policies and procedures that were developed, how states dealt with the environmental damage and how states enlisted the help of the industry in their operations.

Key tasks would include:

1. Identifying states who have had experience with hydraulic fracturing.

2. Interviewing those states identifying best practices, obtaining copies of legislation, polices, procedures, evironmental reports and other documents.

3. Developing a best practices/lessons learned volume.

Urgency and Payoff

With the rising cost of oil hydraulic fracturing is only going to become more widespread across the US. State highway agencies already operate under shrinking maintenance budgets and can not afford to rebuild infrastructure behind these companies.

This research will provide valuable data to help state highway agencies and state legislatures make informed decisions on what types of regulations, laws and best practices need to be in place to perserve our highway infrastructure while also providing much needed energy.

Suggested By

Jennifer Brandenburg, NCDOT, 919.733.3725

[email protected]