SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Constructed of concrete and metal, a tunnel erected over Highway 9 will soon be covered in dirt and will allow wildlife to cross over the busy mountain highway safely.

The multimillion dollar project will create a series of overpasses and underpasses for animals to cross on a notorious 11-mile stretch of the highway that is one of the most frequent animal strike stretches of road in the state.

(credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)

(credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)

“There are numerous wildlife hits every year and this project pretty much came along due to several fatal accidents,” CDOT Project Engineer Justin Kuhn said.

Workers will finish the first six miles of road in November. They will take a break for winter and begin the final five miles with a complete date of late next year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“If everything works out we should be done with the entire 11 miles by next November,” Kuhn said.

CBS4 photographer John Mason shoots video next to Highway 9 on Sept. 21, 2015. (credit: CBS)

CBS4 photographer John Mason shoots video next to Highway 9 on Sept. 21, 2015. (credit: CBS)

Drivers have experienced up to 45-minute delays as workers have widened the highways, installed the under and overpasses and fencing.

The project was funded by a private donations and state highways dollars.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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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