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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Median-Barrier Gaps Let Animals Cross the Highway

In San Diego, California, deer, foxes, coyotes, and countless small mammals have a safer crossing on 2 miles of State Route 52, thanks to "openings" along the concrete barrier dividing the eight-lane highway. This stretch of SR 52 bypassing Mission Trails Regional Park and crossing through Miramar Marine Corps Air Station was a known hotspot for animal-vehicle collisions and the scene of several cross-median traffic accidents. California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) crews met both challenges with a single action. They installed barriers on the highway median and left a 1-meter-wide gap between barrier sections, offsetting each new section to meet safety requirements. The gaps keep cars from crossing over the median into oncoming traffic. They help protect wildlife by preventing animals from becoming "trapped" on the highway as they run across it and by allowing them to keep moving and therefore get to habitats on the other side of the roadway. Area roadkill monitoring suggests the wildlife-crossing gaps are working. Deer can be seen on both sides of the highway, and no deerkill has been reported.
 
--Aug 21, 2006

Bruce April,, (619) 688-0107 or bruce.april@dot.ca.gov

photo of median barriers offset to create gap for wildlife
Caltrans photo
Gap in barriers to allow for wildlife passage.

Along Roads - California
Updated: 12/12/2012
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