Footage Shows Animals Using The First Wildlife Bridge At Utah’s I-80 Designed To Let Them Cross Safely
Animals will cross a road in search of food or to find a more favorable area for breeding. Unfortunately, some of them accidentally get killed by motor vehicles. Some countries including Belgium, Netherlands, Canada and Germany are building a wildlife bridge to provide migrating animals a safe passageway. This structure will let them cross a road without getting hit by a car.
Wildlife vehicle collisions pose a real threat to human safety and wildlife survival as well. In the United States, there are an estimated one million occurrences of roadkill every year. Interstate 80 in Utah is one of the most dangerous roads in the state for having the highest traffic fatalities in Utah. The 196.35-mile transcontinental freeway has one of the riskiest stretches where various animal migration areas exist. Due to the high concentration of wildlife vehicle collisions on the highway, it acquired the unfortunate nickname ‘Slaughter Row’. In just two years, there have been more than 100 animal accidents that claimed the lives of many deer, moose, elks, raccoons and even cougars.
Video Footage Shows Animals Crossing The Wildlife Bridge At Utah’s I-80
It’s working! Thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah State University for monitoring the Parley’s Canyon wildlife overpass this year. As you can see, the 2nd year of this overpass has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well. Please keep off of this overpass. Thanks!
In 2018, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) installed stretches of fencing along both sides of the road to prevent wildlife from crossing the accident-prone areas. But animals still found a way to look for an opening to cross. The state agency realized that the only way to keep them off the streets is to give them a safer route where they can pass easily. And that’s when they finally considered building a bridge.
The construction of a wildlife bridge isn’t as simple as it sounds. First of all, there is no guarantee that the animals are going to use the overpass instead of simply crossing the street. UDOT teamed up with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to better understand the migratory patterns of animals. They used the fencing to guide the animals to the overpass while also preventing them crossing the deadly road. Now the challenge is to entice the animals to walk across the overpass. Naturally, animals would initially avoid the unfamiliar structure. So, the state agency has to make the overpass appeal to the animals by making it look like a part of their natural habitat.
The bridge is covered with natural rocks, boulders and logs to make it blend with the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the public can’t walk across the overpass as not to discourage the animals from approaching the structure. The state agency was expecting that it would take some time before the animals can get used to it. But the latest footage released by the Utah Division of Wildlife showed that the project has already succeeded earlier than expected. The video showed deer, bears, elk and other animals walking across the overpass, allowing them to cross the area safely.