PARLEYS CANYON, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Drivers heading to and from Park City on I-80 get more protection against wildlife on the roadway, thanks to an extra mile of fencing near Jeremy Ranch.
The project gets underway Monday, eight months ahead of schedule due to early funding.
“I’m scared. I’m honestly scared,” Sharon Cantwell said, describing how she feels driving on I-80 during dawn and dusk when wildlife is most likely to be on the road.
The Park City woman belongs to ‘Save People, Save Wildlife,’ a non-profit advocating for the fencing. Their numbers show 22 wildlife crashes with vehicles so far this year, animals ranging from deer, moose and even a bear.
“I try to drive in a herd with other cars hoping that maybe there will be some protection with the additional lights and the sounds. But I really am just frightened,” Cantwell said.
The Utah Department of Public Safety recorded 120 wildlife-related crashes on the busy stretch of I-80 in five years. The new fencing aims to help keep wildlife from making its way onto the busy stretch of road.
“Near the summit, it is a common migratory path for a lot of the animals,” UDOT Project Manager John Montoya said.
Fencing will mirror the section put up along westbound I-80 last fall. After that, crews will extend the fence on both sides by 1,400 feet. The early funding comes from next year’s I-80 truck lane improvement project.
“We are progressively working our way up and down the canyon and further east,” Montoya said.
The long-range goal ties in the new fencing with a proposed wildlife bridge near Parley’s Summit. That’s expected to get underway next year.
The project will cost around $100,000 and crews hope to finish before winter.