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For the first time in 25 years, domestic crude production has averaged 8 million barrels per day, rising almost 14 percent over 2012, and year-to-date crude protection levels have climbed 15.6 percent. The energy sector is indeed the most promising economic catalyst in the U.S., with exceptional crude deposits in N. Dakota, California and Texas...

To ensure that Texas infrastructure remains a 'help' and not a 'hindrance' to the state's oil boom, the Texas Transportation Commission has awarded a $150 million contract to Austin-Angel, JV (Austin Bridge & Road and Angel Brothers) for much-needed road work resulting from the state’s oil and gas boom. The funding, part of the $225 million provided by the Legislature through House Bill 1025 for energy sector road improvements, will allow the Texas Dept. of Transportation to begin repairing and rehabilitating roadways damaged by heavy trucks and increased traffic in these regions.

“The energy sector provides a tremendous economic boost to the state of Texas, but it must be supported in a manner that is safe to everyone on our roadways,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood. “Our decision today will get much-needed work started so that we can improve travel for drivers on these roads.”

In 2012, crashes in Texas’ five energy sectors (Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Barnett Shale, Granite Wash and Haynesville/Bossier), rose by 6 percent over the previous year, while fatalities rose 13 percent.

“While increased energy exploration and production activities are yielding tremendous economic benefits for Texas, the unprecedented volumes of heavy traffic are contributing to crashes and fatalities,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “We are pleased that our commission agreed to fund some of these safety-focused rehabilitation and repair projects.”

Overall, the $150 million project, set to begin in spring of 2014, will improve mobility and address safety concerns by widening damaged roadways to better accommodate the increased volume of heavy vehicles. Focused on the Corpus Christi, Laredo, San Antonio and Yoakum districts, Austin-Angel, JV will reconstruct or resurface 27 roadways and bridges in most need of restoration.

Last week's $150 million award follows September’s $75 million dollar allocation that allowed repairs to begin in the Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Odessa and San Angelo districts. With this action, all $225 million provided by House Bill 1025 has been awarded to construction projects.

As the Texas oil and gas industries help move the United States toward energy independence, the state has identified more than $400 million in immediate roadway safety needs such as repairs to severe edge damage on narrow roadways, deep rutting and pavement damage caused by the increased traffic associated with these activities. Estimates show an additional

$1 billion per year is needed to restore roadways heavily impacted by energy development to “good” or “better” conditions.