Johnson Discusses Gas Traffic, Local Roads

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, visited Jefferson County on Thursday to discuss road projects, as well as road-use agreements between municipalities and companies involved in Utica shale exploration.

Johnson also participated in a “ride-a-long” Thursday with local officials to visit areas of construction and growth.

Johnson met with Becky Giauque, communications director for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 11; Mike Dolak, Steubenville city engineer; Lloyd MacAdam, district deputy director for ODOT District 11; and Jim Branagan, Jefferson County engineer, to discuss the road agreements with companies involved in oil and gas drilling.

MacAdam and Branagan told Johnson the state recently adopted legislation requiring companies to have a road-use agreement with municipalities before any drilling or heavy machinery is brought to a site using rural and other roadways.

Branagan told Johnson the road-use agreements with oil and gas drillers are beneficial to local governments.

Oil and gas drillers “are fixing the roads before they even use them,” said Branagan, adding Jefferson County rural roads saw $4.5 million in improvements by oil and gas drillers in 2012. “The roads will be repaired and upgraded before they even begin (drilling). I was tickled with that.”

MacAdam told Johnson there are 485 permitted drill sites in the state, all with road-use agreements with local municipalities.