Wildlife underpasses to prevent animal accidents along I-25

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STATEWIDE- Roaring traffic doesn’t slow down for wildlife. And new crossing corridors along I-25 are giving animals a safe place to pass.

“The most important areas are between Monument Hill and Larkspur. So what we did is come up with a design that includes five wildlife underpasses. These are some of the largest in North America,” said Chuck Attardo, I-25 Environmental Corridor manager.

The new corridors aim to reduce animal-car collisions by 90% between Monument Hill and Larkspur. Corridors were built-in hot spot areas, where wildlife causes a high number of accidents.

“We’ve seen that in some of the areas across the state that have done similar projects, Highway 9 is one. That goes up to Kremmling from Silverthorne,” said Jason Clay, public information officer with Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

“Our maintenance crews are picking up at least one carcass a day that someone is hitting,” said Attardo.

There are 59 cameras set up to track the animals through these corridors. These cameras already show several different animals crossing the new route.

“There’s lots of habitat going all the way up to Pike National Forest, so we’re facilitating migration movements. We have 28 miles of fencing to help funnel these animals to these locations,” said Clay.

“When they get on the interstate side, they need a way to get back to safety on the habitat side. So we have 60 escape ramps built into the wildlife mitigation system in case an animal gets caught on the other side,” said Attardo.

The underpass also has little rows where the small mammals can slither in between sticks and brush, protected from the bigger animals passing through.

The series of overpasses in El Paso and Douglas Counties make up one of the largest wildlife mitigation systems in North America.

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