Watch: Variety of Creatures Use Wildlife Overpass to Cross Dangerous Utah Highway

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

During the two years before the bridge was built, UDOT recorded 106 collisions between vehicles and animals

A new video from Utah’s Department of Transportation shows dozens of animals using Utah’s largest wildlife overpass to safely cross Interstate 80.

According to Smithsonianmag.com, the 50-foot-wide overpass has a span of 320 feet and was located based on animals’ migratory patterns. Although experts thought it’d take years for animals to start using the bridge, cameras placed along the bridge’s guardrail show a variety of big-game animals, predators, and small mammals all utilizing the pass over the last two years.

A video posted on Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Facebook page in November shows moose, deer, elk, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and other creatures navigating the boulders and logs strewn across the bridge. More than 3 miles of fencing guides wildlife toward the safe point to cross.

“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,” UDWR writes in the video’s caption.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that during the two years before the overpass was built, Utah’s Department of Transportation (UDOT) recorded 106 collisions between vehicles and animals, which killed 98 deer, three moose, two raccoons, two elk, and one cougar. The nonprofit organization Save People Save Wildlife dubbed the road section “Slaughter Row.”

After one year, the UDWR was surprised to see that cougars, coyotes, and yellow-bellied marmots had joined deer and moose crossing the bridge. This year’s footage shows bears and porcupines also in the mix.

The fencing and overpass not only keep animals safe, but drivers as well. UDOT spokesman John Gleason said, “From what we can tell, the number of accidents there is down dramatically. At least initially, it appears the investment in safety is paying off. And we expected it to take several years before the animals got used to using it, so this is great.”

For more crazy outdoor stories, visit The Realblog and check out Realtree’s Facebook page.