Wildlife undercrossing in central Oregon reaches milestone

Another wildlife undercrossing on busy U.S. 97 will soon help keep animals off the roadway – reducing crashes and saving lives. ODOT Region 4 Environmental Program Coordinator Cidney Bowman talks about the latest addition to our highway system aimed at improving safety for all users, including the four-legged kind.

Deer

“Wildlife crossings are important to help prevent animals from being struck on the highway because when drivers hit the animals, the animals and the drivers can be injured or even killed, so we want to work to prevent that,” said Bowman.

Wildlife undercrossing

The new crossing, just north of Gilchrist, is part of a project to build several new passing lanes on the highway – in an area that sees lots of heavy truck and tourist traffic. It is being built in the same manner as the highly successful undercrossing closer to Bend on U.S. 97 that has reduced wildlife-vehicle crashes by as much as 95%.

“The heavy lifting is done on the new undercrossing,” said Public Information Officer Peter Murphy. Landscaping and other finishing touches are still to come, but this is a milestone worth celebrating.

The nearly $12 million U.S. 97 Passing Lanes project should be complete later this year.