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Road Use Maintenance Agreement clearing the way in Harrison County

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014, 05:45 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
HARRISON COUNTY, Ohio -- Are gas companies responsible for repairing damaged roadways?
Harrison County officials say yes, and they're taking steps to ensure it gets done.
Companies that wish to drill must sign an agreement to repair the roads, and county officials have worked to ensure a model "Road Use Maintenance Agreement" that protects the county -- and its roadways.
So far, more than 40 of them have been drawn up by county officials, designed to protect residents and keep roads in proper condition by oil and gas companies that use them for pipeline construction, compressor stations, or well pads.
When does the snow get plowed on the road? When does the roadside get mowed? At what point do they do the repairs? Do they do they do them ahead of time?"
Those are just a few of the items a Road Use Maintenance Agreement covers.
The County Engineers Association and the Ohio Department of Highways came up with a model RUMA, which they have been modifying over the past several years as more wells have come into the area. But while going through revisions, officials wanted to ensure a few things were specifically included in the agreement.
"That the road gets repaired back to its original condition -- original or better condition than when the drilling company came into play," said Doug Crabtree of the county Engineer's Office.
Previously, the county enacted a Road Bond, which became difficult to ensure that the repairs were done. But now that the RUMA is a requirement before drilling, county officials have had an easier time getting agreements in place.
"It's to their benefit, also," Crabtree said. "They need to get the product out, and the only way they can make money is to get it to market. So everyone has been working very well together to get things out to market and put back in place where everyone can travel safely."
One of those stipulations for the RUMA is that work to the roadway is done before the traffic starts traveling on it, rather than after repairs are needed. So far, it has been successful.
"And if they upgrade the roads, build the roads so that they can handle the traffic, then the road repairs or the RUMAs -- the maintenance on the road -- is a null point," Crabtree said.
Crabtree added they will continue to revise these agreements as they find the need for changes in them. As for how many more they think they will see, it's unclear because of the continuing number of wells that are being drilled.  

Road Use Maintenance Agreement clearing the way in Harrison County


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