3 wildlife crossings over Arizona freeways proposed to reduce collisions, protect animals

Jul 26, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 7:02 am

animal crossing over wildlife crossing photo shows overpass wildlife crossing in northern Arizona image shows what the animal might look like on the wildlife crossing map of proposed wildlife crossings an example of what an overpass crossing could look like

PHOENIX — Transportation officials are looking for new ways to reduce collisions in northern Arizona with the potential installation of three wildlife crossings.

The proposal includes two crossings along Interstate 17 – one south of Kachina Village and the other north of the Willard Springs exit – and a third on Interstate 40, west of Parks.

The Coconino and Kaibab national forests are asking the public for input. Comments can be made until Aug. 29 through email, by fax at 928-527-3620 or in person at 1824 S. Thompson Street.

The goal is to reduce the amount of vehicle-wildlife collision, increase wildlife population connectivity across the landscape and to protect the animals.

The proposal is pending funding availability, according to forest officials. If approved, the crossings would be built over the next several years, requiring 6-8 months to construct each crossing.

“It is expected that the elevated crossing structures would be mostly located within the existing highway easement and would require an additional 18 acres of national forest lands for all three crossings that would be used for construction and maintenance of these structures over the long-term,” Kaibab and Coconino national forest officials said in a press release.

Among the many animals that could potentially benefit from the additional crossings include elk, deer, desert tortoises, pronghorns and mountain lions.

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3 wildlife crossings over Arizona freeways proposed to reduce collisions, protect animals