Oil and Gas Industry: A Look at Roads and Safety

By: Lindsay Housaman Email
By: Lindsay Housaman Email

The oil and gas industry is booming on the western slope, and along with more rigs popping up, we're seeing more and more industrial traffic. Some say it's taking a toll on roads and public safety.

Steve Altop is no stranger to the roads in Garfield County. Driving a large water truck for the gas rigs, he knows how important it is to drive safe and to have experience.

Altop says,"First time you get in a pinch you learn real quick. People can tell you all day long, but until you have been out here and did it once you don't know."

Roads to and from gas rig locations are traveled heavily 24 hours a day.

Altop says they can all be a dangerous road to travel, "There is a lot of people that speed out here. Speed is a problem. Getting off the road when shoulders are soft, it'll flip you. But like down here in the 25 mph corners , I've seen some flip over because of speed."

The company, Encana Oil and Gas, knows there are problems with the truckers and the roads.

In 2007, the company had 40 traffic incidents on their own property. The company says weather and gravel roads played a large part with many trucks getting stuck in mud and snow.

This year alone the company has seen about three incidents a month. County and state roads are paved.

Frank Lopez with Encana says the company is always on the lookout for unsafe employees, "We have full time safety personnel that go out with radar guns. They're out running traffic and following trucks around. It's zero tolerance. We don't except it."

Encana says it's done it's best to cut down traffic, and says it's cut truck traffic by half over the last two years.

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