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WATCH: Wildlife uses Utah’s first interstate crossing just for them

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 11:21 AM CST
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(Gray News) - Video of various animals utilizing a wildlife bridge over an interstate highway in Utah shows the $5 million project is working as intended, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“It’s working! Thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah State University for monitoring the Parleys Canyon wildlife overpass this year. As you can see, the 2nd year of this overpass has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well,” the agency posted on Facebook.

The Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass in northern Utah near Salt Lake City was built over Interstate 80 in 2018. It was the state’s first overpass built for wildlife crossings.

The video, released on November 19, shows bears, deer, bobcats and other critters using the bridge in 2020.

The Utah Department of Transportation built the wildlife crossing to improve safety on I-80 by reducing vehicle collisions with animals.

Parley's Canyon Animal Overpass Timelapse

The new wildlife overpass in Parley's Canyon will reduce collisions and help keep drivers as well as area wildlife safe. This week, a total of 12 steel beams were placed over I-80, weighing a total of 240,000 pounds. That's about as much as an adult blue whale. Once completed, the bridge will be 330 feet long and 48 feet wide. This is the first overpass in the state designed exclusively for wildlife to use. Several underpasses are in use already, including one under U.S. 40 east of Park City, and under U.S. 189 near Deer Creek Reservoir. Construction on the bridge will continue through fall. Check out this timelapse of the girder installation from this week!

Posted by Utah DOT on Friday, August 3, 2018

The bridge is 350 ft. long and 50 ft. wide. Crews placed boulders and rocks on the bridge to help it blend in with the surroundings.

The agency also built six miles of fencing to encourage wildlife to use the crossing instead of trying to cross the interstate. “We want to make the bridge feel as much a part of the surroundings as we can,” UDOT Public Information Officer John Gleason said just after completion of the project. “It’s a win for both wildlife and people that drive on the road.”

According to the Utah Department of Transportation, there were 106 vehicle collisions with wildlife in the Parleys Canyon area in the two years prior to the crossing opening. Data since the opening of the crossing was not immediately available.

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