Eagle Ford Affecting Karnes County: With a Boom Comes Some Problems
There is little doubt that the financial gain from the latest oil boom in tiny, rural Karnes County, Texas has been welcome to longtime residents, especially in these trying economic times. While this is the sixth “oil boom” experienced by the county, there are signs that this shale play is here to stay. Karnes County has gone from being one of the smallest producers in Texas to being one of its largest. In the last three years, deposits at the Karnes County National bank doubled, the county’s tax base has increased fivefold, and prime commercial real estate has increased tenfold.
In many ways, life is good for long-suffering Karnes County residents. But the positive changes have brought with them a lot of problems, as well. When it comes to traffic and road infrastructure, tiny Karnes County simply isn’t prepared for what has happened over the last couple of years. As a result, auto and truck accidents are becoming far more common. And, the trucking accidents and car wrecks in Karnes County, Texas often have tragic consequences due to the size of the vehicles involved.
The influx of oil workers into the county has swelled its population by at least 70%, and that has caused worker camps and RV parks to pop up on open spaces along the few major highways that serve the county. This sudden spike in population alone would cause major strain on the county’s traffic infrastructure, as thousands of new workers take to the two-lane country roads to get back and forth from their camp to the new shale play oil fields that have popped up.
But it’s not just the workers’ cars that are creating a problem. Karnes County roads are also clogged with a constant stream of oil field services trucks. Trucks moving freshly pumped crude oil to new transfer stations, construction trucks, bringing in material to build storage tanks and pipelines, and heavy construction equipment traverse the Karnes County, Texas roadways daily.
Just within the last two years, the traffic counts on some county highways have increased by more than 300%. Perhaps predictably, the number of auto accidents and injuries has increased along with the traffic. Over that same time period, the number of deaths from auto accidents has nearly quadrupled. And as bad as the situation is right now, the problem is likely to get worse in the future. According to some estimates, the increased traffic has resulted in at least $100 million worth of road damage, which would seem to indicate these numbers could indeed go up.
While there is a lot to be grateful for with the huge economic boom that shale oil plays bring to a community, the booms tend to bring a large increase in accidents and fatalities. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to an accident in one of the communities affected by the new oil shale plays, contact a Texas Oil and Gas Injury Accident Attorney whom has experience handling these types of claims. The Texas Trucking and Oilfield Accident Lawyers at Hill Law Firm are here to discuss your legal rights. Call us today!