According to recent study, close to 6,000-10,000 mule deer are killed on Utah’s roads each year. And over the past five years there have been more than 14,700 wildlife-vehicle collisions in Utah alone.
In an effort to reduce such human-wildlife accidents on a busy highway, Utah officials devised an innovative way to reduce such dangerous automobile collisions with animals by building a bridge across it.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) built a bridge across the busy Interstate 80 (I-80) back in 2018 to reduce such accidents in the Parleys Canyon. Recently, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have released a video of the bridge as evidence that wild animals are using it.
The video shared by the UDWR on their official Facebook page shows the bridge being used by wild animals such as – aiding moose, porcupines, deer and even bears crossing the highway using the bridge.
‘It’s working!’ officials posted on Facebook. “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 video footage shows a variety of animals crossing the new bridge which is filled with rocks, boulders and logs, giving the wildlife a new lease of life and a safe passage across the six lanes on I-80.
As wildlife typically needs a lot of time to adjust, the state officials were skeptical about the bridge plan and were of the opinion that it would take years to be a success. However, the new video proved them wrong as the footage shows the plan has been a grand success.
According to a KSL media report, John Gleason, a UDOT spokesperson, had said that it might take years for wildlife to start using the bridge.
“We’re seeing results, and it’s an unexpected success to see results this early," he said in 2019.
Following the success here, UDOT may look for other places to install similar overpasses where crossings have been a problem.
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