WILDLIFE

Park City group disappointed in UDOT’s wildlife crossing decision

Apr 16, 2024, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:02 pm

Motorists travel under a wildlife crossing bridge spanning I-80 in Parleys Canyon on Tuesday, Oct. ...

Motorists travel under a wildlife crossing bridge spanning I-80 in Parleys Canyon on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PARK CITY, Utah — A Park City advocacy group spent years trying to convince the Utah Department of Transportation to build a wildlife crossing on SR 224, between Kimball Junction and Park City. Now, it is trying to figure out why UDOT decided to nix the idea.

Save People Save Wildlife’s President Erin Ferguson met monthly with UDOT on how to best protect both wildlife and the lives of those who travel across SR 224, which, on average, sees 30,000 cars daily. UDOT even commissioned a study showing that fencing and crossings are the best solution.

However, UDOT said at a multiagency meeting that it will not build a wildlife crossing — and Save People Save Wildlife disagrees with that decision. 

Ferguson said the crossing would both set a good precedent for Olympic host cities. 

“If we set a precedent as a venue for the city that shows incredible dedication to environmental stewardship and the local resident wildlife, we’ll set a precedent for the future host cities,” Ferguson said. 

The group also believes that this is a public safety issue. 

“If we create safe passage for wildlife on our roadways, public safety increases because motorist safety increases,” said Ferguson. 

UDOT has lowered speed limits in the area and added illuminated warning signs, but they said the crossing wouldn’t actually yield the results they hope for, citing DWR data.

The wildlife advocacy group requested data through Utah’s public records.

Read more: LISTEN: How the ski industry in Utah impacts the state

 

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Park City group disappointed in UDOT’s wildlife crossing decision