Deteriorating County Roads Could Lead to More Wrecks

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY- Drive around Midland County, and you'll see, the ride isn't nearly as smooth as it used to be.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter blames it on the surge in big energy trucks rolling around on roads not built to handle their extreme weight.

"County roads are getting torn up and I don't blame these [drivers] because they've got a job to do but we've got a lot of traffic and we're just going to have to deal with it," Painter said.

He says it's getting so bad, it's about time the state step in and get a handle it.

"We've got a need [for help]. We've got a need for it right now," Painter said.

In late April, the Texas Department of Transportation announced the state was giving away $40 million to places around Texas needing to repair roads damaged by vehicles working in the energy industry.

Mark Cross with TxDOT says, "There's a need pretty much all over the state for roadways that have been impacted by energy extraction and it's not just oil drilling. We have many valuable resources here."

TxDOT tells NewsWest 9 the money will be given out in waves.

"The Texas Transportation Commission gave approval on the first round of projects specifically identified to go in and make improvement changes, repairs and rehabilitations to roadways in north and south Texas," Cross said.

However, NewsWest 9 has learned that none of the $40 million is planned on being used in the Basin, so far. Sheriff Painter is not too happy about that.

"It's sad. We need help. We are in a boom. Whether or not people want to admit it, we are in a boom," Painter said.

TxDOT says if Midland County tells them there are needs in the basin, then the state will address them and meet them at some point. The county says that while the roads are not dangerous right now, they will continue to deteriorate and we'll eventually see even more wrecks on the roads.