DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Local and state agencies have announced a plan to install 16 miles of wildlife fencing south of Denver.
The multiagency plan calls for the fencing to be installed on both sides of Interstate 25 from the RidgeGate exit in Lone Tree to the Founders exit in Castle Rock.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said it will begin fence construction in February 2022, with the installation to be completed in approximately two to three months.
The fencing plan from CDOT, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), Castle Pines, Castle Rock and Douglas County aims to reduce vehicle-animal collisions on the stretch of interstate.
CPW spokesman Jason Clay said the elk herd living along I-25 between Lone Tree and Castle Rock is scattered on both sides of the interstate and includes 1,500 to 2,000 elk.
CDOT and Douglas County are also collaborating on posting overhead electronic message boards along the corridor to inform drivers who might not be aware of the potential danger.
“In areas where we’ve put up wildlife fencing, just along I-25 for instance, and areas south of Colorado Springs, down around Fountain, Fort Carson area, wildlife-vehicle collisions went down 90%," said CDOT spokesperson Bob Wilson.
In the stretch of highway south of Denver, drivers face the possibility of encountering wildlife, especially as animals migrate during the spring and fall.
“The large elk herd and then you also have large deer herds," Clay said. “Then you throw in the bear, the coyotes, the mountain lion. You’ve had moose that go through and a lot of the smaller species.”
CPW officials recommended drivers stay alert and slow down, particularly at dawn and dusk when wildlife is more active.
If drivers see wildlife in the roadway, they should not swerve as they are more likely to wreck when trying to avoid an animal. It is best to slow down if possible and look for other wildlife as most animals travel in groups.
The I-25 South Gap project also will include the addition of four wildlife crossings between Castle Rock and Monument. The crossings allow wildlife to pass safely underneath the interstate.
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