PHOENIX — A group of Arizona State University students are creating a new type of cattle guard that could be seen on state highways in the future.
The engineering students paired up with the Arizona Department of Transportation to develop a prototype of the cattle guard.
Ryan Harding, a spokesman with the department, said the first half of the prototype involves gates that are always up.
“When a vehicle approaches, it will slow down, and roll slowly onto the gate,” Harding said. “[That] activates the pulleys, and the gates collapse. The vehicle can cross safely over.”
A small structure nearby makes sure animals do not get past those raised gates, Harding said.
“If an animal gets too close, [the structure] will emit predator sound,” he said. “It also uses motion and a predator decoy will pop out.”
The students are senior engineering majors. Their project is now the property of ADOT.
“Engineers may take certain elements for further study and refinement,” Harding said. “Someday, the students’ ideas may be used to improve the state highway system.”
Collisions with large animals, like cattle, can damage vehicles almost beyond repair and cause serious injuries to both drivers and passengers.
In addition, drivers may be required — depending on the accident circumstances — to compensate the animal’s owner. A bull, for example, could cost as much as $3,000.
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