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Drivers In High Country Should Be On Look Out For Moose

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(credit: YouTube)

(credit: YouTube)

DENVER (CBS4) – With a rising number of serious and even deadly car crashes in the mountains, two state departments are urging drivers to be careful. They’re warning drivers about some unusual dangers on the road.

It’s becoming a bigger issue that many Colorado drivers haven’t had to deal with before — moose interfering on highways and the interstate.

“We’ve never put moose in Summit County, but they’re here as an expanding successful reintroduction,” district wildlife manager Shannon Schwab said.

The most recent accident with a moose was this week along Highway 9 near Blue River. And earlier this month a woman was killed on Interstate 70 just outside of Frisco when a moose was crossing the interstate.

“We think it was a result of a bull moose chasing a cow moose, which is what they do in the rut this time of year,” Schwab said. “But moose are the only creatures causing problems in the high country this time of year.”

“We have a lot of this transitional time where animals are moving from their summer range to their winter range and that’s when they start crossing road ways,” Schwab said.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says it’s spent millions of dollars over the past few years trying to keep animals away from the heavily-traveled highways.

“We’ve installed wildlife fence with escape ramps; we’ve identified areas that are high hazard areas and we’ve put up warning signs,” CDOT program engineer Peter Kozinski said.

A state law recently passed has CDOT looking into about 100 miles of highway all over the state that are in heavy traffic zones for wildlife encouraging drivers to slow down or face double the fine.

“It gives people the opportunity to react, break a little faster than it typically would be,” Kozinski said.

CDOT will study the wildlife zones for a few more years and then report back to the legislature and possibly add more. But for now drivers are urged to just pay more attention.

“Pay attention. If you’re in an area that says wildlife crossing, then that means they probably do,” Schwab said.

There have been seven moose accidents so far this year in Colorado and a few dozen more involving deer, elk and bears.

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