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Public supports Wyoming wildlife crossings

 

Wyoming Mule Deer
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Wyoming officials are taking action to reduce the number of wildlife vehicle collisions and improve migration routes in Teton County. Last week, a draft of Teton County’s Wildlife Crossing Master Plan was discussed during a public meeting, which confirmed that Wyoming residents want to keep mule deer, moose and other wildlife safe from busy roadways.

The plan proposes several different ideas to help animals navigate traffic-heavy highways, including expanding underpasses and overpasses, using fences to “steer wildlife toward designated crossing areas and bridges,” and installing an animal-sensing system that would warn motorists if they’re coming up to a busy animal crossing area, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports. Engineers responsible for determining the design of wildlife crossings weighed in during the discussion last week to point out the specific needs of each animal.

“How much space does a moose need before they will go under something?” Teton County engineer Amy Ramage said during the meeting. “Some species physically just very much reject trying to go through a small underpass, then the overpasses become the structure that’s preferred.”

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According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, the proposed list of wildlife crossing “hot spots” includes:

  • Snake River bridge at Highway 22 and Highway 390
  • East bank of the Snake River near Highway 22
  • Highway 22 near Spring Creek
  • Broadway near Karns Meadow Park
  • Highway 26/89/191, south of Jackson
  • Highway 26/89, Cabin Creek
  • Highway 189/191, Camp Creek

The Western Transportation Institute created the plan for $100,000 last year; however, funds will still need to be determined for improving the actual crossings. Ramage said that “funding will likely come from a combination of sources.” The final plan, which will be reviewed by the Teton County Board of County Commissioners, should be completed by the end of the year.

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