The speed limit was lowered on a two-mile stretch of S.R. 224, near the White Barn, last October. The Utah Department of Transportation worked with the Park City mayor to address wildlife collisions on the road by lowering the speed from 55 miles per hour to 45.
A study released from UDOT earlier this year determined that 224 by the McPolin Farm was the 5th worst spot for vehicle/wildlife collisions in the state of Utah.
Erin Ferguson, with the Park City-based nonprofit, Save People Save Wildlife, said despite the changes in speed limit, animals are still dying on 224.
“Animals, regardless of species, are using that as a migratory corridor,” Ferguson said. “We've seen everything, you know, there's dead bunnies, porcupines, raccoons, skunks, deer, elk, moose.”
She said changing the speed limit won’t make a difference in mitigating wildlife accidents.
“They don't really need to have a speed limit sign there anyway because no one observes it,” she said. “If we had an underpass, people could go whatever speed they wanted. If they want to speed and they want to risk getting a ticket, great, but wildlife aren't going to be the ones paying the price this time.”
Courtney Samuel with UDOT, said even though it’s been a year, law enforcement is still working to impose the new speed limit.
“There's definitely been an increase in enforcement,” Samuel said. “I know that it is a bit of adjustment for drivers who normally are accustomed to that 55 miles per hour, they go down to 45.”
Utah Highway Patrol has pulled over more than 160 drivers in the past two months. In August and September last year, they pulled over 105 drivers.
Samuel said there’s a chance the speed limit could go back to the original speed.
“So we can basically kind of determine whether that speed reduction had an effect on vehicle and wildlife collisions on this stretch of 224,” he said. “So after the conclusion of this study, we'll be able to determine, yeah, if that was an effect, it will remain in place, or if it will change back to the original 55.”
UDOT is still in the process of evaluating the study and they’re expecting to come to a conclusion in April 2021.