Elk NetworkColorado Wildlife Overpass ‘Results Speaking for Themselves’

General | March 2, 2023

It’s been a great winter season for many elk and deer in southwest Colorado. Why? Because traversing what was a treacherous roadway is safer for wildlife and drivers alike, thanks to the completion and use of a wildlife underpass/overpass last summer on U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs.

“Considering that almost 2,000 deer and elk were kept off the highway in this first fall migration season, and many more as animals circle the project site on winter range — the results are already speaking for themselves,” Aran Johnson, Southern Ute wildlife division head, told the Southern Ute Drum.

Biologists and researchers can watch the results thanks to video and camera traps.

“This video shows more elk, and more various ages and genders of elk using the overpass than any other monitoring video or series of photos have demonstrated in the continental U.S. at any structure,” Patricia Cramer, an independent wildlife and road ecology researcher, told the Southern Ute Drum.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation contributed $75,000 for the project.

(Photo credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)