It is the time of year again when we need to be wary of wildlife on Oregon highways. Mule deer and other Oregon native species make their annual treks from summer to winter feeding areas. In between the animals and their destinations are a few highways. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve joined with state and federal partners to promote “Watch out for Wildlife” week.
Over the last few days, we’ve partnered with wildlife agencies to educate people about the importance of driving smarter and safer in wildlife areas. By taking proper precautions, everyone can reduce their risk of getting in a crash.
If you’re traveling in central Oregon you’ll see wildlife messages on our overhead message boards. You’ll also see posters, materials and even films at events.
Central Oregon home to several wildlife hot spots
Mule deer heading down from the high Cascades to desert near Fort Rock in huge numbers mean that U.S. 97 south of Bend and Oregon 31 from U.S. 97 to Christmas Valley are prime hot spots.
To help keep motorists and animals safe ODOT built two wildlife under-crossings in the last few years. These pathways have proven effective in nearly eliminating deer-vehicle crashes. In the near future, we’ll add a third wildlife crossing just north of Gilchrist at the site of a project to add passing lanes to the highway.
Science improves safety
At ODOT we’re lucky to have some talented wildlife biologists and engineers who use science and technology to develop solutions for vehicle vs. wildlife crashes.