The Highway Overpass In Utah Is A Major Success And The Video Shows Many Wild Animals Using It To Avoid Danger

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One of the most stunning and magical things I discovered this past year is just how awesome videos of animals going across bridges are. They’re soothing. They help us slow down. And they show us what the natural world right on our doorsteps looks like.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), which guards the state’s wildlife, posted a video on November 19 showing the brilliant Parley’s Canyon Wildlife Operpass and all the wildlife using it. “It’s working!” the Division shared their joy. Check out the video below, dear Pandas! (PS—turn the sound on; we love the music in the video cuz it makes everything seem more epic.)

Scott Root, the Conservation Outreach Manager at the Utah DWR, told Bored Panda that they handed over the trail camera filming of the overpass to Utah State University this year so that they could begin a statistical study of the usage of the overpass. “The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) recently installed a camera system on the overpass as well. Detailed statistics are not known yet, but will be next year. Deer have been the most frequent user of the overpass,” he said.

Want to see some more inspiring bridges and crossings that help save thousands of animals each year when you’re done with this article? Check out Bored Panda’s post right here.

More info: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Wildlife.Utah.Gov

You can check out the full video of animals using Utah’s first-ever wildlife overpass right here

According to Root from the Utah DWR, they and UDOT will work together on future crossings just like this one. However, it’s still too early to know about any future wildlife overpass locations and details, so we’ll have to be patient.

“UDOT and DWR were pleasantly surprised at how many animals have used the overpass over the first two years of the overpass’ completion,” Root said. He added that 3 miles of wildlife fencing line both sides of I-80 adjacent to the overpass and help funnel animals to the overpass, allowing for safe migration.

Before the overpass was constructed, around 100 wildlife and vehicle accidents were reported over a 2-year period on that particular stretch of highway. Since then, very few accidents have been reported, Root said.

Cameras near and on the bridge caught a number of different critters crossing the I-80 highway during the day

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The four-legged traffic didn’t slow down at night, either!

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Image credits: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The overpass, which is 320 feet long and 50 feet wide (97.5 meters by 15.2 meters) is already in its second year and has been helping wildlife migrate over the very busy Interstate-80. There have been conflicting numbers about the length and width of the overpass shared online, so keep in mind that these ones were confirmed to us by the DWR.

From squirrels, deer, and (what look like really weird) moose to bobcats and even bears (!!!), the first wildlife overpass in Utah is getting a lot of four-legged traffic. The real-life fairytale was all captured by the cameras installed on the crossing itself. Not only is the overpass protecting animals, but it’s also keeping drivers safe who otherwise might get into collisions as wildlife tries to cross over the I-80.

Now, the project has captured not only the media’s attention, but it’s also gained a huge amount of attention on websites like Reddit and Imgur. Meanwhile, the original video got more than 1.6 million views in less than a week, at the time of writing.

Built in 2018, the project itself cost 5 million dollars, and we think it was well worth the investment. It’s hard enough to put a price on one animal’s life, let alone such a diverse ecosystem.

A study found that between 1992 and 2002, 61.15% of all collisions occurred on only 10 routes in Utah. This just goes to show that changes to infrastructure in strategic places can have huge positive effects.

What do you think of the video, dear Pandas? Which animals using the crossing took you by surprise (it’s the bear for us)? Have any of you seen the overpass with your own eyes? Let us know in the comment section.

People loved the project idea and were hankering for more crossings just like this one





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