PARLEYS CANYON, Utah (ABC4 News) Wild animals in Parleys Canyon get a safer passageway, as UDOT unveils the first of its kind overpass on Interstate-80.
The aim is to prevent an estimated 500 animal/vehicle collisions in the last two years. Animals hit include deer, elk, moose, and even a cougar.
“Unfortunately, the residents refer to this area as ‘Slaughter House Row’,” Sharon Cantwell said, Save People Save Wildlife board member.
The $5 million overpass is the Utah Department of Transportation’s solution that ends three years of advocacy by environmental groups.
“This is about the people first and foremost, as well as our dwindling wildlife. We have seen so many accidents that have been near fatalities along this stretch. We know of residents who’ve personally experienced that didn’t think they would wake up the next morning,” Cantwell said.
UDOT installed six miles of fencing on both sides of I-80 to force animals from crossing at the bridge. The Division of Wildlife Resources will entice first-time crossers with salt licks.
“They’ll figure it out. We will give them some time. We think once the migration patterns are learned, they’ll use it more,” Division of Wildlife Resources Scott Root said.
The bridge is one of several improvements on I-80 to make it safer, including a new truck lane to help move slower, heavier trucks from faster-moving traffic.