Nevada a leader in animal-vehicle crash mitigation

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 4:18 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Just outside of Silver Springs, two bachelor wild horses are standing together on the east side of USA Parkway and headed toward the hills. We assume they used an underpass located underneath the parkway to get there.

Unlike “the chicken” with traffic going more than 50-miles an hour on the parkway, there’s little chance a wild horse would get to the other side safety.

Such an installation works.

“These types of mitigations are 85-to-95% effective,” says Nova Simpson with Nevada Department of Transportation Northern Nevada Wildlife Supervisor.

So successful, the underpasses are getting international recognition. A study examining the best practices for mitigating vehicle versus wildlife crashes says the underpasses are the most proven effective measure. Period.

This is the first finding coming from “Cost Effective Solutions: Literature Review.” 12 more reports will be released as time goes on.

The first study indicates the underpasses used here in Northern Nevada, as well as Northeast Nevada can be incorporated into other roadways where wildlife needs to coexist.

Simpson says the structures are also backed by fencing, signs, and other measures to direct the wildlife where to go, and alert the driver there is activity in the area.

“Nevada is definitely a leader in the U.S. in this. My understanding is less than 20 overpasses are in the U.S. and we have six in Nevada. We’ve done that in the last ten years,” says Simpson.

Keep in mind the underpasses can only do so much.

Drivers are encouraged to drive the speed limit. Wear a seatbelt and look for wildlife signs. If there is one herd animal chances are there are more than one.

And investigations show accidents between cars and wildlife occur when the driver tries to avoid the animal and crashes into another car.

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