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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Fracking trucks will destroy country roads

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Congratulations and thanks to all of those who supported the Bentley protest.

A recent article on Alternet.org (search the site under ‘fracking’ by date) about fracking presents figures that show increased traffic fatalities caused by increased heavy trucking in the areas where fracking takes place.

Some areas report a doubling of traffic deaths while others less. Bit of an eye opener.

Another useful tool for the activist’s box is roads.

Nowhere in the fracking discussion is the cost to local councils of the wear and tear on local road systems caused by fracking trucks.

In the early 90s the NRMA published research that showed that a semi-trailer caused $80k damage to roads each year.

Given the cost of roads seems to have rocketed since then (I have been unable to find more recent numbers, but let’s imagine it is up to $500k/year for trucks running every day), this presents a massive budgetary issue for country ratepayers.

Because fracking occurs in areas where there is zero or little road shoulder, the destruction of country roads by increased trucking is guaranteed.

I have no idea how many trucks are involved in a fracking project, in bringing in sand, chemicals and even water, nor how many gas trucks will get filled each day, but I imagine there must be at least 50 trucks involved, running every day.

That amounts to $25 million a year in local road damage, which is paid by all voters alike, by those for fracking and those against it.

Perhaps if state governments were to be publicly quoted by local councils on projected repairs to local roads caused by fracking projects on the drawing board they may consider that it is not such a lucrative business after all.

Fighting fracking from an economic standpoint as well as traffic fatalities opens up a whole other front in the fracking wars.

Keep up the good fight.

Mark O’Brien, Mullumbimby/Bali


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