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Mahmoud Bennett

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US rolls out plan to build more wildlife crossings around the country

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Mahmoud Bennett

Social Media Producer/Reporter

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In an effort to reduce the number of collisions between wildlife and moving vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a $350 million initiative to build more animal crossings along busy roads throughout the country. The program will open up funding to Indigenous groups, state and local governments for building wildlife corridors alongside roads, tracking animals, and adding more warning signs for drivers.

Approximately 350 million animals are killed each year in traffic in the U.S., 1 million-2 million of those animals are bigger animals, per government data. Federal officials say another 200 people are killed annually as a result of these accidents, as reported by The Associated Press.

While western states such as Colorado, Arizona and Utah have already invested heavily in animal crossings, California made headlines in 2022 when it introduced what it brands as the world’s largest animal crossing; a bridge over a major highway in Southern California designed to allow mountain lions and other animals to cross safely.

Although several states have implemented similar initiatives, Canada’s wildlife bridge efforts, which began more than 20 years ago, are often touted as the most successful example. According to one study, the efforts have reduced collisions by as much as 80% in the country’s Banff National Park area.

One study published published in the journal Transportation Research Record said the construction cost for a wildlife underpass can range from $500,000 to $2.7 million. The cost for an overpass can range from $2.7 million to $6.2 million, as reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The study also estimated each crossing structure could save society between $235,000 and $443,000 annually through collision reductions with savings varying based on structure size, design and location.

This DOT initiative is the largest single sum ever allocated to tackle vehicle-wildlife collisions. The funding will be rolled out over the next five years.

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A NEW INITIATIVE IS LOOKING TO BUILD MORE ANIMAL CROSSINGS ALONG BUSY US ROADS IN AN EFFORT TO TACKLE THE NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS BETWEEN WILDLIFE AND MOVING VEHICLES

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANNOUNCED 350 MILLION IN FUNDING TO HELP TRACK ANIMALS, BUILD WILDLIFE CORRIDORS ATOP ROADS – AND ADD MORE WARNING SIGNS FOR DRIVERS

THIS PROGRAM WILL BE AVAILABLE TO INDIGENOUS GROUPS AS WELL AS STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

RIGHT NOW ESTIMATES SAY THAT ABOUT 350 MILLION ANIMALS ARE KILLED BY TRAFFIC IN THE US EACH YEAR – 1-2 MILLION OF WHICH ARE BIGGER ANIMALS – MEANWHILE ABOUT 200 PEOPLE ARE KILLED ANNUALLY AS A RESULT OF THOSE COLLISIONS ACCORDING TO FEDERAL OFFICIALS

ANIMAL CROSSING ARE NOT NEW – WESTERN STATES LIKE COLORADO, ARIZONA AND UTAH HAVE ALREADY INVESTED SUBSTANTIALLY IN THEM

AND LAST YEAR* CALIFORNIA MADE HEADLINES INTRODUCING WHAT IT BRANDS THE WORLD’S LARGEST ANIMAL CROSSING – EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETE IN 2025 IT’LL BE OVER A MAJOR SOUTHERN CALI HIGHWAY THAT’LL LET MOUNTAIN LIONS AND OTHER ANIMALS CROSS SAFELY

WHAT’S OFTEN TOUTED AS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLE THOUGH IS CANADA’S WILDLIFE BRIDGE EFFORTS WHICH BEGAN MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO- ONE STUDY SAYS IT’S REDUCED COLLISIONS BY AS MUCH AS 80%

AS FOR THIS LATEST PILOT INITIATIVE BY THE DOT – IT IS THE LARGEST SINGLE SUM EVER ALLOCATED TO ADDRESS VEHICLE WILDLIFE COLLISIONS –

FUNDING IS SET TO BE ROLLED OUT OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS