In a first-ever international competition, designers from all over the world were asked to imagine solutions to the age-old problem of moving wildlife across the landscape while keeping them out of harm’s way on our highways. Judges for the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition have narrowed it down to just five finalists vying to design a “next generation wildlife crossing” to be built at West Vail Pass on I-70 in Colorado.
Thousands of animals are killed each year while trying to cross Colorado’s highways, including elk, deer and mountain lions. And across the country, more than 200 people are killed and 26,000 are injured in wildlife-vehicle collisions annually. Estimates suggest these accidents cost Americans more than $8 billion every year. Wildlife crossings that funnel animals over or under traffic are an effective method to preventing animals from darting across busy roads, protecting their lives and ours without restricting natural movement.
Contest finalists were chosen from submissions from more than 100 design firms worldwide, each showing innovation and creativity. One design by Janet Rosenberg and Associates (above) features a bright red bridge intended to attract the interest of drivers as they pass under, yet remain unremarkable to color-blind mammals as they pass over.
A jury consisting of internationally acclaimed experts in landscape architecture, engineering, architecture, ecology and transportation will announce the winning design team on January 23, 2011. Trisha White, director of Defenders’ Habitats and Highways campaign, told Wall Street Journal that those officials must do more than ooh and aah over the entries; she would like them to work on keeping highways out of habitat in the first place. “Wildlife bridges are fine where habitat is irreversibly fragmented,” she said, but “the bigger issue is those future roads….Can we please make better decisions on where to put them?”
What do you think?
Click here to see the five final designs for the overpass design competition on our Facebook page – then let us know which one you like the best! Comments can be posted to Facebook or below.
Read our “Top 10 Tips for Drivers“ to see how YOU can reduce your risk of getting in an accident with wildlife.