COLORADO – More than additional lanes are in the plans for improving safety along the I-25 “gap” between Monument and Castle Rock. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) planners are working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers identifying the most frequent spots for wildlife and car collisions. Mitigations measure are in the works to reduce crashes.
Tracking wildlife road kills in CDOT’s Region One, which includes the “gap,” shows more than 100 animals died from July to September this year. 74 deer, ten elk, two bears, a mountain lion and a moose died. At high speeds people also die. Even if people are okay their cars get major damage. “We’ve seen that it causes at least $3,000 on average for property damage,” said CDOT’s Michelle Peulen.
Things like specialized wildlife fencing and animal underpasses show success reducing car animal conflicts on other roads in the state. “It channels the wildlife to appropriate crossings where they can get across safely. And, it’s not just that we’re worried about the animal safety, we’re worried about motorist safety too,” said Peulen There are some locations with a 90% reduction of animal verses car collisions.
Similar measures are going in on 18 miles of the “gap.” “We’re going to be able to install five wildlife crossings as well as install 30 miles of deer fencing.” Fencing goes on both sides of the roadway.
There is a caution given with talking about the wildlife mitigation measures; it does not completely eliminate animals getting on roads. Drivers still need to watch closely and slow down.