Washington’s New Animal Overpass
Infrastructure always plays a vital role in human development. And highways are the major part of it. The highways are regarded as signs of development in any country. In the United States, the highways have given a lot to its economic development. But, have you ever wondered what the Highway means to forest bound animals?
It works as a boundary crossing which will not ensure the return. For the safety of animals, a new overpass on Washington State’s Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass is being constructed. The path will accommodate elk, bear, and other creatures for passing the Highway.
The bridge has been scheduled to be completed by 2019. But, as per a tweet by Washington State’s Department of Transportation (WSDOT) animals have already started using the half-constructed pass. The pass will have fencing near the corridor to guide the animals to the bridge and buffer car noise coming from the Highway.
The project with another 20 such bridges will be costing $6.2 million. Interstate highways will also have such bridges. But as per some experts, there are two kinds of animals. Not every kind will prefer to go over the bridge. For some, we have to make tunnels as well. For example, male bears use the underpass, and the female bears and cubs pass by the bridge. In order to protect both the kinds, we will have to make tunnels as well.
Researchers said that the crossing on I-90 had much importance as it would be used by the herd of elks, which moved out of the mountains to lower grassland in winters.
Jen Watkins Conservation Northwest I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition coordinator said that the idea behind the whole project is to reduce human-animal conflict in terms of lower incidents of car collisions. Every animal irrespective of its size and kind needs space to move in search of food, mate or due to changes in the habitat.
The Conservation group was founded in 2004 and associated with the DOT, the Forest Service to protect the animals and conserve them.
It should be reported here that the Washington project is not the first such project. Utah’s DOT has opened overpasses for animals near the summit of Parley’s Canyon crossing a six-lane stretch of I-80. In Colorado, 30 wildlife underpasses and two overpasses have been constructed.
When the United States of America was growing, and the plans of Highways were made, animals as a factor was not included. But now as per report every year at least 1 million animals die due to collision by cars on highways.
Upgrading highways accordingly is the best solution though it is expensive. But, such expenditure is totally worth it if it can help to sustain our environment and ecology. Other parts of the globe also have done much to preserve the animals and to have a rich flora and fauna. For example, six wildlife overpasses and 38 underpasses constructed in Canada’s Banff National Park over the Trans-Canada Highway 20 years ago have been really effective in preserving the animals and minimizing the cases of human-animal conflict.