TxDOT lowering speed limits in shale regions

Crash studies result in reduced speed limits on rural roads Eagle Ford shale rgion

SAN ANTONIO – In the oil- and natural gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas, the number of serious and fatal crashes is up 7 percent.

Studies of shale regions have resulted in the Texas Department of Transportation taking emergency action, lowering the speed limit in some of those areas.

"You could slow those little roads down. They're too bumpy. I don't think they're made for fast speeds," said driver Donnie Phillips.

He should know because he drives three hours round-trip every day just to get to and from his job site in Karnes City. He is one of several Eagle Ford Shale workers who thinks reducing the speed limit on smaller roads is a good idea.

"They probably should. That's the reason why these smaller highways are all broken up and they got all these potholes everywhere because trucks are going so fast, hitting them so hard," Phillips said.

Driver Gustavo Figuerroa agreed.

"(The) concrete's all broken. They just need to fix the roads, you know, and people need to slow down," said Figuerroa.

TxDOT spokeswoman Veronica Beyer explained that the department is aware of the roads in need of repair and the increase in crashes in the shale regions.

As a result, they have adopted a temporary emergency rule change that would allow them to fast-track dropping speed limits by as much as 12 mph.

The change only applies to two-lane, two-way roads that are less than 24 feet wide.

Normally, TxDOT would have to go through a longer process that includes traffic studies before being able to implement speed limit changes.

"We are changing the rules so we can change the speed limits faster than we've ever done before," Beyer said.

  • CLICK HERE for a list of rural roads in the Eagle Ford Shale and other regions statewide that have already been approved for a speed limit reduction.