The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved spending $1.25 million to build two wildlife underpasses in western Wyoming on Highway 189. Known as the Dry Piney project, the planned wildlife underpasses will impact a 5-mile stretch of highway. The project will be just north of the town of LaBarge. This area holds a ton of deer during the winter months and is directly in the migration route of mule deer and pronghorn.
According to a release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department: That section of highway has one of the highest wildlife collision rates in Wyoming. The Commission’s allocation is set to be supported with additional funds from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and other stakeholders. The first phase of the project will install two underpasses and associated fencing projected to reduce collisions by 85-90 percent.
“There is no doubt in my mind this is the way to go,” said David Rael. “Safety is the number one reason to invest in roadway crossings.” -Game and Fish Commission president.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 200 people die annually from deer-related accidents in the US. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, who added that each collision comes with “an average cost of $11,600 in injury and property damage.”
In nearby Pinedale/Daniel Wyoming area, wildlife underpasses were successfully installed in 2012. At a total cost of $10-million, in addition to the overpass at Trapper’s Point, six underpasses and one more overpass have been built on the wildlife, critical very busy section of U.S. Highway 189/191 between Daniel Junction and Pinedale.
Here is a video from the Wyoming Game and Fish about Pinedale’s wildlife underpasses:
They hope to have the underpasses near LaBarge finished by 2022. Read more about the Wyoming Wildlife and Roadways Initiative.
What do you think of these underpasses for our migrating wildlife?