Cameras Show New Highway 9 Wildlife Overpass Is An Early Success

By Matt Kroschel

KREMMLING, Colo. (CBS4) – Game cameras show animals like deer and a fox are using a first-of-its-kind wildlife overpass built on Highway 9 near Kremmling last year.

The multi-million dollar project aimed at reducing animal vs. car crashes on the notoriously dangerous stretch of busy roadway seems to be working, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.

highway 9 improvements wildlife bridges Cameras Show New Highway 9 Wildlife Overpass Is An Early Success

“This is the first overpass built in Colorado but I think the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife and even the public are looking at his and asking, ‘Why aren’t we doing more of these elsewhere in the state?'” asked Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Cowardin.

There were a lot of critics to the project in the beginning who doubted that animals would even use the overpass.

“Within days of it being completed we started having evidence of deer using the overpass on a daily basis,” said Cowardin.

Images released to CBS4 show deer using an underpass built last summer. New 8-foot fences surround the corridor for miles.

Wildlife crossing (credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

Wildlife crossing (credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

The highway was also widened and larger shoulders were added. The rest of the project will be completed later this year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“With half the project being completed, we’re seeing a decrease in animal-vehicle collisions,” said Cowardin.

Wildlife crossing (credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

Wildlife crossing (credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

CPW say a few instances of deer spotted inside the fenced zone have been reported. They say those animals most likely “tip-toe” over driveway grates in order to get on the other side of the fence.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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