Friday, June 12, 2015

Make way for wildlife: Building the I-90 wildlife overcrossing

By Meagan Lott

Bears, cougars and elks – oh my! We recently broke ground on the next 2 miles of the I-90 project east of Snoqualmie Pass, which includes the first wildlife crossing to be built over the roadway.

We get a lot of questions about why are we building an overcrossing for wildlife. The answer: it’s for safety. Have you ever hit a deer or an elk? It can be dangerous for the animal and the driver. We have spent years researching and studying migration patterns of wildlife living near I-90. We are building the overcrossing in an area where wildlife naturally migrates to Keechelus Lake and unfortunately, I-90 acts as a barrier. The overcrossing will allow bears, cougars, elk, deer and other wildlife to get to the lake without endangering themselves and you.  We will install large fencing along I-90 to help funnel the critters to and over the crossing. 

 The overcrossing is scheduled to be complete in 2019 and will stand about 35 feet tall, 60 feet wide and about 150 feet long when it’s finished. Although the overcrossing is getting a lot of attention, it’s not the only thing we are doing. We will also be widening I-90 from Keechelus Dam to the Stampede Pass interchange from four to six lanes and building a larger area for vehicles to chain-up in the winter. We will also be adding some bridges and culverts.

So, with all the construction that means you will need to make sure you know what kind of travel delays you will run into this summer when traveling east of Snoqualmie Pass. We have a wide variety of tools to help you plan your trip including What’s Happening on I-90, Snoqualmie Mountain Pass and Traffic Alerts Web pages. You can also follow us on Twitter @snoqualmiepass or sign up for email updates.


Jim B. said...

Yes, I like the idea of funneling the animals. Once their predators figure it out it should be devastating.

Jim B. said...

Yes, I can see how funneling the animals will be beneficial. Once the predators learn it should be quite devastating.

Jim B.

Tim Mahoney said...

Then that's going to be very good news for apex predators with a hunting license.

Lor A said...

I think this is a great idea (VS wildlife attempts to cross busy highway traffic, often with devastating results) - for animal as well as human safety purposes. I have researched wildlife crossing/bridge efforts in other countries and the success. Noting negative comments in regards to predators learning the travel route of animals 'being funneled' across the highway - the pluses of such a crossing far outweigh the negatives, in my opinion. It seems a practical as well as compassionate response to the problem of wildlife being forced to cross busy highways to get where they are going - especially since this particular area of the highway has already been identified as an often-used migration route to and from the lake area.

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