Wildlife crossings.  We see the signs for them on the side of the highway, prompting small children (or those who don't know any better) to ask, "How do the animals know to cross here?  They can't read."

Montana State University's Western Transportation Institute has recently released multiple reports on the feasibility of structures meant to reduce wildlife collisions with vehicles, making highways safer.

According to the press release, the reports are the result of joint work by groups across the US and Canada.  In addition to the WTI, multiple state transportation departments participated, along with the US Federal Highway Administration, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation, and Parks Canada Agency.

The federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2021 sets aside $350 million over five years to fund a pilot program to build more wildlife crossing structures across the US.

The wildlife crossing structures, which can be used not only by wildlife, but humans as well, take the shape of tunnels or a bridge/overpass.

The research covered multiple aspects, from a cost-benefit analysis of various designs to signage and fencing.  Another topic researched was the materials that could be used to build said structures, comparing traditional steel and concrete to materials like recycled plastics and fiber-reinforced polymers.

For more information or to read the reports yourself, go here.

I hope this research gets put to good use.  Anything that could potentially make our roads safer is good by me, and reducing the number of collisions involving wildlife certainly qualifies.

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