Road construction projects on I-80 are on schedule and by the time winter arrives, UDOT says all of it will be finished. Carolyn Murray has this:
UDOT spokesperson, John Gleason says the wildlife bridge spanning I-80 at the top of Parley’s Canyon is going to be good for people and animals. Large game is frequently hit on the highway between Lambs Canyon and Kimball Junction. UDOT says car/animal collisions in the past few years have killed 122 mule deer, 13 moose, four elk, three mountain lions and a black bear.
“Not only are we going to save the lives of animals but, importantly I think it goes without saying that it cuts down on the amount of crashes that we will see in Parley’s Canyon as well.”
The grass roots group, Save People, Save Wildlife have pushed UDOT to build the bridge and wildlife fencing along both sides of I-80 in the area from Jeremy Ranch to the Parley’s Summit. Lorelei Coombs is on the Board and she has been with the group since they first organized three years ago.
“There have been studies that say the width that we are building is not sufficient for large animals to cross over. It would probably be fine for small animal, not large such as moose and elk. But, they say they are going to have wildlife cameras and it will be spotting the animals throughout the winter to see how effective the width of the bridge is. Hopefully, all animals will use it. We will just have to wait and see.”
She says UDOT has agreed to install cattle guards on the ramps at Parleys Summit and they’ve closed the gaps in the fencing along both sides of the highway.
“We think UDOT’s been doing a great job. We’d like to thank them for their hard work and keeping heir promises about having the wildlife bridge in before winter hits and as much fencing as they’ve been doing on both north and south trying to be sure that animals will be safe and passengers will be safe traveling along I-80 so we applaud their efforts for that.”
Gleason says the west bound climbing lane will be done by this fall. The berm and noise wall are on target to finish up in the next few months.
“Prevent against some of the additional noise we are going to see with the additional lane there. Per the request of all the residents that live out there, directly in the path of the additional noise….we balloted 29 different people and 27 of them came back ans said they absolutely wanted to build a noise wall and so, by federal law, we have to abide by that.”
Gleason says the fencing will help direct wildlife onto the bridge but drivers in this area still need to be vigilant because there will always be animals that find their way onto the highway.