COLORADO SPRINGS — Drivers beware, odds of hitting wildlife along Colorado roadways increases this time of year. "They know the seasons are changing, the days are becoming shorter and so they're moving around the same time we're doing a lot of our commuting," said CDOT Region 2, Environmental Manager, Gabriel Cosyleon. There is also work done by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to help you avoid wildlife verses vehicle encounters.
For example, when a deer or other type of wildlife is killed on a road, clean-up by CDOT crews is not just removal, it is documented for data. They animal type and location is recorded. CDOT environmentalists use data to identify areas where animal verses car encounters happen most often. That information is shared with traffic engineers. "Devise ways or figure out, hey, this is the best place to put that underpass because we have the higher number of hits in that corridor," said Cosyleon. The gap project for example is getting nearly a dozen strategically calculated wildlife crossing locations. Other roads get fencing. The most affordable option is extra signs to warn drivers.
It may seem roads rule, and they are important, but wildlife, waterways, air quality and noise, all have to be factored into CDOT road projects. With Colorado’s rapid growth, CDOT’s environmental unit is extremely busy.