Over 700 animals used the I-80 wildlife bridge in 2021

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — The $5 million wildlife bridge at Parleys Summit along I-80 finished in 2018 to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.

In the two years before it was constructed, more than 100 such crashes were reported, according to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). Per a 2008 report to Congress from the Federal Highway Administration (most recent available), more than 1 million wildlife collisions occur annually, injuring or killing thousands of people and animals.

“By installing this wildlife crossing over I-80 in Parley’s Canyon, we help wildlife get to the other side of the canyon, and most importantly, ensure fewer animals attempt to cross the highway – creating a safer road for everyone,” UDOT said in a post.

The overpass had another busy year in 2021, with 706 total animal crossings.

Confirmed crossings include:

  • 23 species, including 6 bird species
  • 414 mule deer crossings
  • 54 coyote crossings
  • 27 porcupine crossings
  • 8 black bear crossings
  • 10 moose crossings

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure law passed in 2021 includes $350 million earmarked for the construction of animal crossings across the United States.

Matt Skroch, project director of U.S. public lands and rivers conservation for the Pew Charitable Trusts, said wildlife bridges can reduce vehicle-wildlife crashes “by more than 80%.”

The wildlife bridge over I-80 at Parley's Summit was finished in 2018.
The wildlife bridge over I-80 at Parley’s Summit completed in 2018. (Photo: DWR)

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