Millions of animals are killed or injured by cars every year. In an attempt to minimize these types of incidents, states are implementing new ways for animals to cross busy interstates and roads, such as with the use of wildlife bridges.
Utah is one such state that decided to build a wildlife bridge. The Utah Department of Transportation made the decision after 46 deer, 14 moose, and 4 elk were killed on Interstate 80 near Salt Lake City within a two-year time span.
As a result, they constructed a $5 million wildlife bridge in 2018, known as Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass. Based on footage of the overpass shared by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the bridge appears to be quite successful.
In the video, viewers can see various animals, including moose, chipmunks, porcupines, and bears, using the bridge to safely cross the Interstate. The organization captioned the video, “It’s working!”
People in the comments of the video were quite pleased with the success of the overpass.
One person wrote, “So wonderful to see this. Let’s build many more near major highways so that the beloved wildlife can always cross safely.”
Another commented, “Preventing the painful loss of wildlife and possibly humans as well! Well worth the money this costs, good job Utah!”
However, Utah isn’t the only state to be using a wildlife bridge. States such as California, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana have also implemented similar solutions to help protect both wildlife and motorists from unwanted collisions. Both overpasses and underpasses are used, with overpasses being beneficial for small to large animals and underpasses helping much smaller creatures, like turtles and rodents.
California is currently working on building the world’s largest wildlife bridge near Los Angeles. Once finished, it will help wildlife safely cross Highway 101 and hopefully prevent many wildlife-related collisions, injuries, and deaths.
Wyoming has already seen massive success with two overpasses and six underpasses near Trappers Point. According to a report, wildlife-vehicle collisions were reduced by 80% in the first three years of the crossings’ existence.
Colorado is home to seven designated wildlife crossings, with two overpasses and five underpasses.
Montana has a combined 41 overpasses and underpasses to help wildlife cross Highway 93.
As seen with these states, among others, proper animal crossings have proven to be effective. The road ecology program manager at the Western Transportation Institute, Rob Ament, shared with National Geographic, “You can get reductions of 85 to 95 percent with crossings and fencing that guide animals under or over highways.”
We’re so glad to see Utah getting in on this solution and saving lives! Check out the footage below of animals utilizing the overpass:
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