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$10M Project to Build Highway Overpasses for Pronghorn Migration

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October 17, 2012

$10M Project to Build Highway Overpasses for Pronghorn Migration

By Chad Love

Trains, automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists all have their dedicated overpasses spanning busy highways below. Now you can speedgoat to that list with the opening of several dedicated pronghorn overpasses in Wyoming.

From this story on nbcnews.com:
The fastest land animal in the U.S. now has safe passage across a Wyoming highway -- extending a seasonal migration that's been going on for 6,000 years. Pronghorn antelope have started using two overpasses atop Highway 191 that were completed this fall, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced this week. Eight-foot high fencing channels the animals to the crossing points. 

According to the story, the $10 million project includes eight wildlife passages along a 13-mile stretch of US 191, six underpasses for deer, elk, moose and other animals, and two overpasses for antelope, which apparently do not like tunnels. Several hundred antelope will use the overpasses on their 93-mile seasonal migration between winter sagebrush in the Upper Green River Basin and summer grounds in Grand Teton National Park.

Comments (4)

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I know very little about pronghorn hunting..as I have never hunted anything east of KY, but I wonder what kind of hunting regulations will be in these areas.... I mean, these are pinch-points...excellent for ambush. You know there has got to be some regulations on these or idots will set up and be blasting away with rifles as cars are wizzing by. Anybody have any ideas??

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

They're usually migrating out of season.

This is particularly useful for pronghorns. As anyone who has hunted them knows, they can't jump fences. They actually fly right through barbed wire. Hogwire is more problematic and they'll usually run down the fenceline till the find a gate and go through the barbed wire there. The reason for this peculiarity is they are not built for jumping but rather running at high speeds. In heavy winters this proves especially deadly for them around highways and train tracks. When the snow burms get high alongside the roads/tracks, the herds cannot jump and get out of the way of traffic. They're caught and get creamed. I have known of semi-trucks in Montana that killed more than thirty at once! Two years ago the winter kill in Montana was devastating, especially along the BN tracks up in the Hi Line country. Glad to see this innovation. By the way, the 8-foot fence is not meant for them but for deer and elk that might choose to use the same route.

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from MaxPower wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ontario- Pronghorn can and do jump fences, they just prefer not to.

Though this may be costly, it's a good thing to see. It also mitigates car/wildlife collisions so it saves human like too. The great thing is that the animals only have to use these (tunnels or bridges) once or twice, then they always remember them and it gets passed down.

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from Alex Grimaudo wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I've heard of these kinds of overpasses and tunnels being used in mountains. If biologists set up trail cameras in them, I bet they could obtain a plethora of knowledge on wildlife population. We could really use them here on the east coast, because I see not only large animals get hit, but turtles get hit constantly. Turtles like the box turtle and the diamondback terrapin are threatened and could really use the extra protection. Plus, the tunnels and overpasses could be just large enough for the turtles but not so large to break the state's bank.

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I know very little about pronghorn hunting..as I have never hunted anything east of KY, but I wonder what kind of hunting regulations will be in these areas.... I mean, these are pinch-points...excellent for ambush. You know there has got to be some regulations on these or idots will set up and be blasting away with rifles as cars are wizzing by. Anybody have any ideas??

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

They're usually migrating out of season.

This is particularly useful for pronghorns. As anyone who has hunted them knows, they can't jump fences. They actually fly right through barbed wire. Hogwire is more problematic and they'll usually run down the fenceline till the find a gate and go through the barbed wire there. The reason for this peculiarity is they are not built for jumping but rather running at high speeds. In heavy winters this proves especially deadly for them around highways and train tracks. When the snow burms get high alongside the roads/tracks, the herds cannot jump and get out of the way of traffic. They're caught and get creamed. I have known of semi-trucks in Montana that killed more than thirty at once! Two years ago the winter kill in Montana was devastating, especially along the BN tracks up in the Hi Line country. Glad to see this innovation. By the way, the 8-foot fence is not meant for them but for deer and elk that might choose to use the same route.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MaxPower wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ontario- Pronghorn can and do jump fences, they just prefer not to.

Though this may be costly, it's a good thing to see. It also mitigates car/wildlife collisions so it saves human like too. The great thing is that the animals only have to use these (tunnels or bridges) once or twice, then they always remember them and it gets passed down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Grimaudo wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I've heard of these kinds of overpasses and tunnels being used in mountains. If biologists set up trail cameras in them, I bet they could obtain a plethora of knowledge on wildlife population. We could really use them here on the east coast, because I see not only large animals get hit, but turtles get hit constantly. Turtles like the box turtle and the diamondback terrapin are threatened and could really use the extra protection. Plus, the tunnels and overpasses could be just large enough for the turtles but not so large to break the state's bank.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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