California Spends Big to Minimize Roadkill

_A rural stretch of Highway 3 in Siskiyou County [in northern California] is about to go high-tech in an effort to keep deer, mountain lions, bears and elk out of the path of oncoming traffic.

This summer, highway crews will begin work installing a series of cameras, radar sensors and signs over a one-mile stretch of the highway near Fort Jones._
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If a deer or other large animal crosses the path of one of the interconnecting radar beams, an electronic signal triggers lights attached to deer-crossing signs.

The lights flash to warn motorists of the danger possibly standing in their path, said Ian Turnbull, chief of the intelligent transportation systems and support at the California Department of Transportation's Redding office.

Motorists strike at least 60 deer a year in that particular five-mile stretch of Highway 3.

"That is a particularly bad deer-kill area," Turnbull said. "It is one of the worst in the district. There's also a group of folks in the Fort Jones area who were concerned about it. They were actually talking about putting up their own warning sings."

But it won't just be deer that will be tracked by the sensors. Turnbull said motion-activated radar and video will track the speed of oncoming cars to see if the flashing lights actually cause motorists to slow down.

Caltrans paid $168,054 for the project's deer-tracking infrastructure. The car-tracking technology is provided by the California PATH (Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways) program.
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