Recently in Washington State construction crews have been creating the state’s first animal overpass to ensure the wildlife in the area safe passage across the busy roads.
Thanks to the resolve of all working on the project the solution to keep the safety of wildlife and humans will be able to be achieved with the building of this overpass over the interstate.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews began their construction process of the state’s first ever animal overpass Tuesday. This overpass is a 150-foot wide bridge that will be surrounded by native trees along with vegetation that is designed to allow elk, otters, bears, and even mice to pass over this extremely busy 1-90 expressway.
This project will cost a total of $6 million, yet this is the first animal crossing of more than 20 different planned overpasses along with underpasses that will span the majestic landscape alongWashington’s central Cascade Mountains.
What the intention of this overpass is grant wandering animals safe passage over a 15-mile stretch of road that consistently has around 28,000 vehicles passing by every single day.
Biologist Patricia Garvey-Darda, a biologist working for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest had this to say about this new project,
“ This is really a remarkable effort. The goal is to connect all the species and all the habitat. ”
Seattle Times goes on to report that four different underpasses have already opened up and game cameras that have been set up along these passes have been able to capture video of wildlife from deer to river otters already using this crossing under the highway.
Washington is not the only state that has the safety of the wildlife at heart; Montana and Florida have already constructed very similar crossings for wildlife.
America’s neighbor to the north has already constructed 44 of these types of crossings along the Trans-Canada Highway, and soon after their completion they were able to report an80% reduction in collisions with their wildlife by the time their projects were finished.
Did you know that in the United States alone around 725,000 animal-related vehicle collisions are reported every single year? The National Forest Service has been requesting and fighting for something similar to this for years, as well as state conservationists.
The majority of the Forest Rangers in the area have stated that the project is one that help to reunite wildlife populations that were once divided by this huge highway. That this project will allow for the wildlife to more easily have access to other areas of the wild to find homes, food and even help with finding a mate, with will help to broaden the gene pools of a multitude of rare species.
Wow, it’s truly amazing how with just a little bit of effort we can reduce the amount of animals displaced by the human races rapid growth and expansion as our population and technological advancements flourish. I believe that these new overpasses are a great start to living side by side with nature. At least it will cut down on the animal and human deaths that our expansions have caused.