Monroe County Engineer Enforcing Oil And Gas Road Repairs

Photo by Janell Hunter Monroe County Engineer Amy Zwick speaks to Commissioner Mick Schumacher about enforcement of road repair agreements with three oil and gas companies that are working in the area.

Monroe County Engineer Amy Zwick told county commissioners Monday her department notified three oil and gas companies they need to make immediate repairs on four county roads or cease using them.

In response, one of those companies has filed a lawsuit against the county.

Zwick said she sent an email on Nov. 7 to Rover, Columbia Gas and EQT Corp. regarding County Roads 27, 36, 38 and 37, otherwise known as Moore Ridge Road, Ozark Eddy Bridge Road, Headley Road and Boltsville Road.

“On County Roads 27 and 36, we started working with Rover on damages at the end of May,” Zwick said. “And we are at the point that if they don’t get repaired soon, they are not going to be able to get it repaired this year.”

Zwick said she spoke to county Prosecutor James Peters about enforcing the road use maintenance agreements, or RUMAs, in order to address “excessive damages” to the roads.

“The notice was sent out (Nov. 7) that they were to cease any and all activity for their particular projects on County Road 27 and County Road 36, County Road 38 and County Road 37,” Zwick said.

“The only road that EQT is involved in is County Road 37, the other three are Rover and Columbia.”

Zwick said County Roads 27 and 36 each serve as routes for more than 1,000 vehicles per day, and they need to be repaired before they become impassable.

“If I have to shut those down, we will have a lot of problems. The point they are at right now is that cars could bottom out, vehicles could swerve when trying to correct, plow trucks could easily have an accident or swerve into oncoming traffic, and cars are trying to avoid problems and going left of center, which also can cause accidents,” Zwick said.

Zwick was notified late Thursday that Rover had filed a lawsuit in federal court regarding her department’s actions. She said she does not believe her department has done anything “out of line” or “out of order” to enforce the RUMA contracts.

Zwick also noted Rover has been busy making repairs on other, less damaged roads for which the company has RUMA agreements with the county.

Zwick said at this point, all three companies are complying with the cease order, as far as she knows.

“Because of the things that came about in the court and the claims that were made, at this point if they are active we will just make a note and report it. That way we have documentation,” Zwick said.