Agencies Working Toward Constructing Elevated Wildlife Crossings

An example of an elevated wildlife highway crossing near the Arizona-Nevada state line.

 

August 1, 2023

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Kaibab and Coconino national forests are seeking public comments about a proposal to install up to three new wildlife highway crossings in northern Arizona, pending funding availability. The goal: keep motorists safe and allow wildlife to safely cross interstates.

The proposal, brought forward by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation, is based on years of study.

The proposed crossings would be located on Interstate 17 south of Kachina Village, on I-17 north of the Willard Springs exit and on I-40 west of Parks.

The construction of these crossings would reduce potential vehicle-wildlife collisions and increase wildlife population connectivity across the landscape. Over the long-term the crossings would benefit local wildlife, decrease the potential for vehicle collisions, and reduce costs to Arizona taxpayers.

The proposed crossings would be constructed over the next several years based on funding availability. Construction of each crossing would require six to eight months and would be built to minimize impacts to highway traffic. It is expected that the elevated crossing structures would be mostly located within the existing highway easement and would require an additional 18 acres of national forest lands for all three crossings that would be used for construction and maintenance of these structures over the long-term.

The Coconino and Kaibab national forests are currently requesting your comments on this proposal. Please submit comments in writing by Aug. 29, 2023, through one of the following methods:

• E-mail: send to comments-southwestern-coconino@usda.gov (include "NAZ Crossings" in the subject line); *

• Regular mail: send to the Coconino Forest Service, Attention: Mike Dechter, 1824 South Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001;

• Fax: send to (928) 527-3620; Attention: Mike Dechter, NAZ Crossings;

• In person at the Coconino's Supervisor's Office 1824 South Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.

For more detailed information on the proposal including a scoping letter with additional maps, please visit the project webpage.

*Editor's Note: For 21 years, I lived in Alberta, Canada, near Banff. The Canadians had success with elevated animal crossings there. It might be a good idea to look into those. Best wishes on this wonderful idea!

 

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