PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A group is pushing the Utah Department of Transportation to build wildlife fences and overpasses along Interstate 80 from Parley's Summit to U.S. 40.
In the past five years the group "Save People Save Wildlife" estimates more than 300 animals have died by being hit on I-80 in Summit County. Erin Ferguson said "This spring it was probably every three days there was a moose, or an elk, or a deer hit and that went on for a good six weeks."
There is wildlife fencing at the base of Parley's Canyon, but nothing from the summit to U.S. 40. A nine mile stretch where animals are funneled in and forced to cross the highway.
"We don't want animals to die any longer on the freeway and we don't want people to get hurt as a result," said Ferguson.
The group is asking UDOT to build wildlife fencing, and a wildlife overpass or underpass where animals can cross without being in danger or endangering drivers.
UDOT received a $5 million federal grant for wildlife mitigation, but can't use the money until October of 2017. While the group waits for a permanent solution they're asking UDOT for a temporary one; an additional four feet in fencing along the nine mile stretch of highway.
UDOT is considering the temporary fix, but says the department wants to be sure it's spending the grant money wisely. UDOT Spokesperson John Gleason told Good4Utah, "It's important for us to look at opportunities that we can take to make the roads as safe as possible, so that what we're looking for right now is long term solutions that are going to significantly reduce the problem for decades to come."
Save People Save Wildlife says they can't wait another year or two, they want to see a temporary fence up by this fall. Lorelei Combs said, "If that's not an option for the state they've given us permission to erect our own fence as citizens and they also said they would work side-by-side with us and help."
For more information log on to: http://www.savepeoplesavewildlife.org/
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