Breaking News
More () »

New crossing will reduce crashes with wildlife by 85%, CDOT says

Two miles of 8-foot-tall fencing will help guide wildlife to the new crossing.

ARCHULETA COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado's newest wildlife overpass and underpass are now open between Durango and Pagosa Springs.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said the new wildlife overpass and underpass on U.S. Highway 160 will make the road safer for motorists and wildlife by reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.

CDOT said in a release that more than 60% of all crashes in the project area are due to wildlife-vehicle collisions. CDOT predicted wildlife-vehicle collisions in the stretch will decrease now by 85%.

The construction project began in March 2021. CDOT recently held a ribbon-cutting celebration atop the wildlife arch over the highway in Archuleta County.

In addition to an overpass and underpass, the project includes two miles of eight-foot-tall exclusion fence, earthen escape ramps, a deer guard and eight-foot-tall gates.

Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation
To help big game find their way across the road, a wildlife overpass was recently built over U.S. Highway 160 in southwest Colorado.

Partners in the project included CDOT, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, and the Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Alliance.

"Nineteen years ago the tribe deployed its first set of GPS radio collars on mule deer," said Aran Johnson, Southern Ute tribal wildlife biologist. "The results of those collars hinted at the importance of this particular spot and stretch (of roadway) as a migratory crossing point (for big game) on Highway 160."

"This crossing not only improves safety for our state’s wildlife ― animals like mule deer, elk, and bears ― but it secures protection for Coloradans in their vehicles," said Marlon Reis, Colorado’s First Gentleman.

CDOT said it has built more than 60 wildlife mitigation structures crossing above or under highways throughout Colorado.

Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation
Gathering atop the wildlife overpass structure, the Southern Ute Bear Dance Chief offered a special blessing, the Southern Ute Singers drummed an honor song, and government officials spoke.

RELATED: CDOT unveils wildlife underpass system along I-25

RELATED: I-25 getting 16 miles of fencing to reduce wildlife collisions

> Top stories curated daily just for you! Sign up for the 9NEWSLETTER to get can’t-miss stories, Next and Broncos content, weather and more delivered right to your inbox.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife


Subscribe to our daily 9NEWSLETTER

Download the 9NEWS APP
iTunes: http://on9news.tv/itunes
Google Play: http://on9news.tv/1lWnC5n 


ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KUSA.

For both Apple TV and Fire TV, search for "9news" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.

Before You Leave, Check This Out