On their Facebook page, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shared a video of an overpass created exclusively for animals. The wildlife division placed the structure over a busy interstate. The Utah government made it to keep both animals and motorists safe and avoid injuries from accidental collisions.
Many local animals like bears, deer, moose, and many more critters local to the area featured in the video. Animals are using the overpass all the time throughout the year.
The Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass (the one in the video), which was completed in 2018, was among the many of its kind, all built to serve the same purpose. It was, however, the largest among them all. The collaborative efforts of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Department of Transportation, and the Utah State University made the success of the overpass possible.
In the post, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said that “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!”
The state’s largest wildlife overpass is covered and protected by three and a half miles of fencing to guide the animals on which way to take to get to the other side. It is 50 feet wide and 320 feet long. A right measurement that keeps the traffic unbothered while giving the animals comfortable passage. The location was also strategically chosen as the place was where many animals were recorded to have kept on crossing over the years.
It’s not just animals that benefitted from the overpass; so were the drivers. According to the Utah Department of Transportation Spokesperson John Gleason, “From what we can tell, the number of accidents there is down dramatically. At least initially, it appears the investment in safety is paying off. And we expected it to take several years before the animals got used to using it, so this is great.”
To maintain the goal of keeping everyone safe, the Division of Wildlife and Resources kept on emphasizing the overpass is exclusively for animals only. The repeated announcement was intended for the people who, despite all the warnings, cameras, and other safety measures, still trespass on the overpass.
(Photo : Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash)
Wildlife crossing projects are structures made with the sole purpose of keeping animals and motorists safe by creating safety passage, and boundaries, for both. Infrastructures like these have repeatedly proven that that safety should prioritize no species over the other.
Aside from the overpass, wildlife crossings can take the forms of;
- underpass or tunnels (the opposite of overpass);
- green bridges (another variation of the overpass);
- amphibian tunnels;
- fish ladders;
- canopy bridges;
- small tunnels and culverts; and
- green roofs.
Wildlife crossing initiatives are a significant step in the right direction for habitat conservation. Aside from it connects or reconnects habitats (to combat habitat fragmentation), it also helps prevent an unnecessary vehicle-animal collision-a win-win situation for everyone.
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