State to Convert Some Roads from Paved to Gravel

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A top Texas transportation official says the state plans to convert 83 miles of paved roads in South and West Texas oil and gas field to gravel surfaces.

John Barton, deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, says the speed limit on those roads also will be reduced to 30 mph. The San Antonio Express-News reports Barton revealed the plans to the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin on Thursday.

Barton says the switch is necessary because of the heavy trucks traveling the lightly built roads, taking equipment to rural oil and gas drilling sites.

The department already has asked the Legislature for $4 billion to maintain the state's existing highway network. But Barton says an extra $1 billion would be needed to restore the rural roads.