MONUMENT, Colo. (KKTV) – New wildlife crossings were added to the Gap Project to help animals cross I-25 safely after officials saw a high number of car accidents involving animals around Monument Hill.
When driving through the Gap, you may not even notice them. Wildlife crossings are bridges with large openings underneath to allow animals to cross safely below a road, instead of crossing above where cars are driving. After extensive research from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and CDOT, 4 wildlife crossings were added onto the I-25 Gap Project during construction.
“We literally walked up and down looking for game trails, looking for wildlife signs, looking for movements from what area are they crossing that they’re not getting hit or what area or corridors, what river, creek beds that they’re following,” said Karen Voltura of CPW.
Crews found that a major area, or hotspot, of crashes involving animals was around Monument Hill. Two crossings were placed in that area, along with two farther up north near Larkspur. Officials also researched where animals were naturally migrating across I-25.
“There’s housing on both sides, there’s county roads, there’s some developments, campgrounds, but when we zoomed back out it’s the only forested connection between Black Forest and the national forest on the west side. And animals are pretty determined to move,” said Voltura.
In order for animals to actually use the wildlife crossings, the openings have to be large enough so animals can see habitat on the other side.
“I-25 basically divides the home range of most of these animals and a large highway with significant traffic is going to be a barrier of movement,” said Voltura.
Fencing will also line both sides of the Gap Project in hopes that animals will use the wildlife crossings instead of crossing above I-25, where they are at-risk of being hit by a car.
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