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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

"Electric crosswalk" cuts elk roadkill by 96 percent

The nation's most advanced game crossing system is animal-activated, and it has reduced elk-vehicle collisions by 96% along a 3-mile section of SR 260 in central Arizona. Fences heightened to an average 7.5 feet direct elk toward the Preacher Canyon bridge and two underpasses. At one end of the section where fencing ends and an underpass can't be built, Arizona Departments of Transportation and Game and Fish worked with their partners and consultants to design a "wildlife crosswalk" using thermal imaging cameras and ElectroBraid fencing. Military-grade tracking software captures large-animal movement in the right of way and determines if the animal is large enough to pose a threat to motorists. If so, flashing signs warn drivers elk are about to cross the road. Since the signs flash 500 feet from the end of the fence and since they signal game crossing before it happens, drivers have plenty of time to slow down. The system has turned the signs on 97% of the time, and most drivers have braked and reduced their speed. What's more, the project cost taxpayers less than one sixth the cost of a large-animal underpass.
 
--Mar 16, 2009

Bruce Eilerts, (602) 712-7398 or beilerts@dot.state.az.us

This photo shows electric highway signage warning motorists about elk in the right-of-way or on the road. A solar panel is mounted on top of the sign post. Underneath it are a diamond-shaped sign with a silhouette of an elk and beneath it a rectangular sign reading WHEN FLASHING. Lights above and below these signs will flash when elk are nearby. Elk in the right-of-way will cause one light to flash; elk on the highway will activate both lights.
Flashing signs alert drivers elk are about to cross the road.

Along Roads - Arizona
Updated: 12/12/2012
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