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'It's working!': Utah officials ecstatic after seeing animals use highway Wildlife Overpass

The camera installed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources showed animals including moose, porcupines, deer, and bears using the bridge.

'It's working!': Utah officials ecstatic after seeing animals use highway Wildlife Overpass
Image source: facebook/UtahDWR

Utah wildlife officials built a bridge over a busy highway for the animals to use with the aim of reducing accidents and their plan has been a resounding success. A new video released by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shows animals including moose, porcupines, deer, and even bears, taking the bridge to cross the busy highway. Animals wandering across Interstate 80 have cause many accidents over the years, so Utah wildlife officials built the bridge in 2018, reported CNN.  "It's working!" posted the Utah Wildlife officials on Facebook along with the video. "Thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah State University for monitoring the Parley's Canyon wildlife overpass this year. As you can see, the second year of this overpass has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well. Please keep off of this overpass. Thanks!" The video post has garnered 150,000 likes and got more than 4,000 comments.


The Utah wildlife officials haven't just built an overbridge but also designed it to be animal friendly, filling it with rocks, boulders, and logs. Animals have started using the bridge as an alternative to the six lanes of traffic on I-80. Wildlife officials had stated that animals would take time to adjust to the new bridge and might not take to it immediately when the bridge was opened in 2018. John Gleason, a Utah transportation department spokesman, said it could take years for wildlife to start using the bridge. Within two years animals seemed to have adjusted and warmed up to the idea and are using it more frequently, reducing the accidents on I-80. "We're seeing results, and it's an unexpected success to see results this early," said John Gleason in 2019. The video of the animals using the overbridge was caught on a camera installed by the Utah Department of Transportation. 



Last year, there were concerns after people were caught using the wildlife overpass bridge on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon. “We’ve had some people using the overpass, we’re not crazy about that,” said Root Scott Root of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “I’ve had people skiing on the overpass, mountain biking, running, hiking, and just wanting to check it out.” He added that humans using wildlife overbridge could deter animals from using it. “A lot of our wildlife can smell humans and so it could actually influence their decision to cross or not,” said Root.



He was still optimistic about its use back then. “We’re seeing yellow belly marmots, we’re seeing raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, deer, elk, and moose,” said Scott Root of the Utah DWR at the time, reported KMVT. “If you think about it, all of those animals that you see crossing the bridge would be crossing I-80 and that’s the potential for crashes out there,” said Gleason. He had also warned that coming face to face with animals on the overbridge could prove dangerous to people. “If we have animals [that] start getting used to the overpass and then you show up, let’s say you have a cow-moose and then she gets aggressive, you’re in trouble,” said Root. He urged people to stay away. “Just avoid it, let the wildlife cross in peace, and get used to the crossing so it will ensure they use it a lot more in the future,” Root said. DWR has put signs around the overpass, warning passerby’s that the bridge is meant for animals only.



The Facebook video showing animals crossing the bridge was met with a lot of positive comments. Andrew Eckert wrote, "Preventing the painful loss of wildlife and possibly humans as well! Good job Utah! John Myers commented, "No reason for any human to be anywhere near this overpass stay away the animals have a lot of interference from humans as it is, great idea Utah."





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