SAFETY

I-80 wildlife overpass a work in progress

Apr 5, 2019, 2:07 PM
wildlife...
Members of the media tour a wildlife overpass on I-80 in Parleys Canyon. Photo: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

It has been almost four months since a new wildlife overpass opened over I-80 in Summit County, but it is still too soon to tell how successful it is, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

It looks like fewer cars are hitting wildlife there, but state transportation officials won’t know for sure until they get more data. Three miles of fencing was put in place along each side of the highway as part of the project.

“The wildlife fencing, coupled with the bridge, could be the reason why we haven’t seen the number of vehicle-wildlife collisions in the last couple of months, but it’s too early to draw any conclusions,” said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

Gleason says they know from past experience with a wildlife overpass in Southern Utah, that it takes a few years for the animals who call the area home to change their migratory patterns.

“Animals will begin to use it, and maybe slowly at first, but it will pick up in frequency, and in the next 2 to 3 years we expect to have a number of animals using this on a daily basis,” he said.

All the snow in the area means crews have not been able to get close to the bridge. But they plan to put in more cameras this spring to track behavior.

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I-80 wildlife overpass a work in progress