In Utah, there is a drastic increase in the number of wild incidents on Interstate 80 (I-80). Between Lambs Canyon and Kimball Junction, this is a 13-mile piece of road near Parleys Summit that is exceedingly deadly. Almost 122 mule deer, 13 moose, four elks, and three mountain lions died in a short span of 2 years. These road killings have raised concerns for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
Some other incidents involve a few drivers suffering minor injuries in 2008, killing of two moose calves, and 12 elks wandering on I-80 while blocking it. Most deadly of all the incidents was a chopper that crashed in Mountain Dell Reservoir while steering moose away from the freeway. Three men were killed in this incident!
In previous attempts to avoid such encounters, the wildlife fencing was used; a 7-foot-6-inch fence. Now, the proposed solution is to build an overpass bridge entirely for wildlife along with a roadside fence. The success rate of such bridges is evident if you look at the new overpasses in Colorado. A staggering 80% decrease in wildlife mortality on Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park is recorded.
According to the Ralph Hottinger, the President of Save People, Save Wildlife, the project raised nearly $50,000 last year for a mile-long fencing between Jeremy Ranch and I-80. ‘Save People, Save Wildlife’ is a non-profit Organization that was formed in 2015 in Park City to deal with this pressing issue of wildlife and human killings
This federally funded project to construct a bridge worth $5 million was announced publically at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. It is scheduled to be built in 2018. The bridge design is expected to be 45-feet wide and 345-feet long, and it will be located on the west side of Parleys Summit interchange. John Montoya, the UDOT project manager, said,
“The biggest thing that matters to us is to build a bridge that works, that the larger animals will use.”
An idea that can do wonders in saving wildlife and humans alike! Do you think this idea will be successful? Share your views in the comments’ section below.