With fracking prosperity comes fracking traffic

The oil and gas industry is bringing change to Ohio and other oil-and-gas-rich states. Chris Davidson tells us about just one of the transformations taking place in the heart of Carroll County.

Not so long ago, drivers traveling through the rolling hills of Carroll County waited for the occasional tractor or combine to pull to the side of the narrow road before they could proceed … but that time has passed into the history books.

Now, drivers do battle with oil and gas industry trucks as Carrolton evolves from sleepy farm town to boom town.

I mean its traffic like you could never even have imagined.

That’s Carrolton Mayor Frank Leghart.

There is no way you could have been prepared for the traffic. The traffic starts rolling somewhere between three and four o’clock in the morning  and it will go ’til 6, 7 o’clock at night.

(Sound of traffic) 18-wheelers, box trucks, cement trucks, utility vans and pickups roll through Carrolton’s Public Square. That’s where state Routes 9, 39, 43 and 332 intersect. It’s also the site of Archer’s Restaurant. Here’s owner Ken Joseph.

So people are running into each other and people are waiting to get out when they never used to. We didn’t have rush hour and now we sort of do and it basically goes up from sunup to sundown  

Sherriff Dale Williams says county traffic has doubled within the past year.

With that you get more accidents. You have more people complaining about trucks and speeding.

Williams says traffic accidents rose 15 percent from last year.

Neither the sheriff nor the Chamber of Commerce Director blames the upsurge solely on the oil and gas workers.

 Our county and township roads, a lot of them weren’t even legal widths. So our people have learned to drive down the middle of the road. Well, now you can’t drive down the middle of the road.

Amy Rutledge says the increased traffic brings a big city problem to Carrolton. 

You used to be able to drive through Carrollton in a blink of an eye really. And we always laughed, if you blinked, you’ve missed us. Now, depending on the day, it can take up to a half an hour to get through our four traffic lights.

In addition to her chamber duties, Rutledge also heads up the Carroll County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says most of the residents can put up with the traffic because of the pay off.

It is increasing all of our businesses – not just the restaurants, the grocery stores, The Ace Hardware – all of those kinds of places are showing large increases in their business.

Archer’s Ken Joseph agrees.

 The good thing is they are bringing money with them which is helpful to the community, there’s people finding jobs that weren’t finding jobs before

This is one in a series of stories The News Outlet will bring you about the oil and gas industry expansion in Ohio.

For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Chris Davidson.