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Transport-heavy gas and oil production is destroying Texas roads

Sections of Highway 72 near Fowlerton, Texas, show the wear and tear from the huge amount of oil industry truck traffic.
Sections of Highway 72 near Fowlerton, Texas, show the wear and tear from the huge amount of oil industry truck traffic. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Every month in the West Texas Permian Basin, energy producers drill hundreds of new long-lateral oil and gas wells, an increasing number of which reach 20,000 feet in length and require the transportation of pipe, sand, water and oil weighing more than the Empire State Building.

Why it matters: Unconventional oil and gas development employing horizontal drilling and fracking, like the kind occurring in Texas, is dramatically more transportation-intensive than traditional models. The movement of such huge quantities of construction materials via truck has had a destructive effect on local roads.