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Wildlife Bridges in Utah and Beyond Keep Drivers and Animals Safer

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Trans-Canada wildlife overpass
The Trans-Canada wildlife overpass in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada
Photo: Qyd via CC

As we recently discussed, wildlife bridges are a simple solution to help reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and fatalities for motorists and animals. And the one in Utah has already done wonders to improve roadside safety for both drivers and animals in the States. Here’s a brief overview of Utah’s wildlife overpass as well as some other animal corridors in the U.S. and beyond.

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Utah’s wildlife bridge

According to The Drive’s Jerry Perez, the bridge spans one of the state’s busiest interstates, I-80, at Parley’s Summit. It officially opened for use back in December 2018, as KUTV2 reports. Video footage has depicted a variety of animals — including elk, moose, porcupines, coyotes, and bears — using the overpass on a regular basis.

Utah isn’t the only place in the U.S. that’s implementing wildlife bridges. Per Interesting Engineering’s Trevor English, Montana established one back in 1855 near the Flathead River to protect the Flathead Indian Reservation’s local fauna when they crossed U.S. Highway 93.

Other wildlife bridges in the U.S.

Colorado currently has a wildlife overpass on Colorado Highway 9. According to Perez, the state is collaborating with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department to install more of them. And Keechelus Lake in Washington is another location that uses this structure to provide animals safe passage over a section of Interstate 90, says English.

Wildlife bridges around the world

Two wildlife bridges in Australia deserve some attention, according to English. Christmas Island in Australia has a crab bridge to keep this species safe from car collisions during the annual migration. And in Victoria, a rope bridge spans over The Hume Freeway to protect smaller critters like phascogales and cockatoos from passing cars.

Overpasses aren’t the only type of wildlife crossing structure. Other places use underpasses or tunnels to shield local animals from harm, says English. Kenya uses underpasses to protect elephants while New Zealand uses them for penguins. And Japan has special tunnels that run underneath train tracks to keep traveling turtles safe.

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