Construction isn’t even completed yet wildlife are already using an underpass along a key elk and mule deer migration corridor in southwest Colorado, a project funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
In fact, crews will resume work on April 4, 2022, on U.S. 160 at the intersection of CO 151 approximately 13 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 37 miles east of Durango. New safety features for motorists and wildlife alike include an underpass and overpass, 8-foot fencing along both sides of US 160, earthen escape ramps and deer guards, extension of the existing westbound passing lane on US 160, construction of a left-turn acceleration lane and newly resurfaced pavement.
“Wildlife-vehicle collisions make up more than 60 percent of crashes in this area. This $11.3 dollar project is expected to reduce those collisions by at least 80 percent,” said Julie Constan, Colorado Department of Transportation regional director. “And we are already seeing benefits. Our project and environmental teams are very excited to discover that trail cameras have captured small animals and big game, including deer and elk, using the underpass structure completed last fall.”
When work resumes, crews will focus on the wildlife overpass. The overpass precast concrete forms were set over the highway last fall. Work to complete the structure includes building concrete sidewalls, backfilling the sidewalls and slopes for animal access and seeding the natural landscaping on the bridge.
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(Photo credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)