Colorado Wildlife Learning to Use Innovative Highway Crossings
For those of us who have lived in Colorado for awhile know wildlife seldom ever cross the highway where there are wildlife crossing signs are posted on the highway. In some places, that's beginning to change.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been working on changing that starting in areas of Colorado where the most animal-auto collisions occur. CDOT has been carefully studying the patterns of the state's wildlife and has found that if the crossing is put in the places where wildlife are most likely to cross, they will use it.
As we know, wildlife seldom looks both ways before crossing, so officials came up with a safe way for them to cross. The crossing isn't a sign and a pedestrian crosswalk painted across the highway, but a bridge or underpass that allows animals to cross over or under the highway.
These, along with wildlife fencing with openings to guide animals through the crossings and escape ramps, have proven effective across Colorado. One of the best successes is Highway 9 between Kremmling and Silverthorne, an area know for a significant number of auto collisions with animals, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
There are approximately 30 of these types of wildlife crossings throughout the state, which vary in the type of construction. Using the success and information gathered from current wildlife crossings under and over highways, CDOT and CPW are planning to build more of them focusing on placing them in areas where wildlife most frequently cross Colorado highways.