VIA Discovery.com by Danny Clemens
The Washington State Department of Transportation today announced the state’s first wildlife bridge, which will be built over a stretch of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass.
According the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, which has been advocating for the construction of the wildlife bridge, 28,000 vehicles travel along I-90 each day. Such heavy traffic makes it extremely difficult for wildlife to cross the highway, and has devastating impacts on local wildlife:
“If we prevent them from moving, we’re blocking their ability to find food, we’re blocking their ability to find places to live when conditions change, like the large wildfires we saw last year, and we’re blocking their ability to find new mates and have some genetic diversity in the population. The I-90 wildlife overcrossing and the newly completed undercrossings are monumental step forward for wildlife on the move in our region,” remarked Jen Watkins, coordinator for the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition.
Wildlife bridges are relatively common in Europe — there are over 600 wildlife overpasses and underpasses on roads throughout the Netherlands alone. There are notably fewer of the crossings throughout the United States, however.
“This project is a shining example of WSDOT’s future direction. It embraces our values, goals and strategies for a safe transportation system that improves mobility and supports economic growth,” remarked Deputy Secretary of Transportation Cam Gilmour.