Collisions with automobiles claim the lives of incalculable numbers of animals every year, especially in areas where roads cut across the nature habitats of numerous species. Since humans aren’t exactly likely to cede our roads to the animal kingdom any time soon (as much as some of us would be okay with that), we have to come up with other solutions. Wildlife crossings built to allow land-based creatures to pass safely from one side of the road to another make a huge difference for all sorts of species, and they’re beautiful, too.
Banff National Park Alberta, Canada
Parks Canada has implemented a plan to build wildlife crossings on the Trans-Canada Highway, ensuring healthy movement of wildlife like bighorn sheep, moose, and elk. The crossings consist of both underpasses and overpasses, expanding the home range of the animals within the Banff National Park.
Modular Green Wildlife Bridge Concept
Not yet actually built, this design for a modular wildlife crossing was created for West Vail Pass, Colorado. Entitled ‘Wild (X)ing,’ the concept by Olin Studio makes use of the inherent strength and functionality of a repeating rhomboid shape as a modular component. The bridge can be expanded easily when needed, if the highway is widened in the future.
5 Beautiful Designs for the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Competition
These stunning designs were finalists in the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition. The ARC notes that collisions between vehicles and wildlife have increased by 50 percent over the past 15 years, threatening human and wildlife safety and costing Americans $8 billion annually. One striking entry features multiple entry points and bright red railings, while another takes the opposite approach, looking like a natural hill to blend in with the environment as well as possible.
Highway A50, Netherlands
The Ecoduct De Woeste Hoeve over Highway A50 in the Netherlands protects species like red deer, badgers and ermines. In total, the Netherlands has over 600 wildlife crossings, including the world’s longest ecoduct-wildlife overpass called the Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo, which spans a railway line, business park, river, roadway and sports complex.
Wildlife Crossing, France
France built the world’s first wildlife crossing in 1950, starting a tradition that would sweep around the world. Note how fencing and landscaping is used to direct wildlife onto this particular bridge.
This wildlife crossing passes over the B38 Motorway in Birkenau, Germany.
The Kikbeek Ecoduct was opened to animals in 2005, with two tunnels enabling traffic to pass through a grassy area.
Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana
The renovation of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana was centered upon “ensuring the highway is fitting into the landscape and Spirit of Place,” which means mitigating the impact of roads and traffic on wildlife. A series of wildlife crossings help achieve this goal, and motion-sensing animal detection cameras have been installed to help biologists learn more about how the crossings are used.
Borkeld, The Netherlands
This photo of the ecoduct in Borkeld, The Netherlands really gives us a sense of how helpful such structures can be. Two vast tracts of wild land are now navigable for the animals that call them home.
Watchung Reservation, New Jersey
New Jersey’s Watchung Reservation, the largest park in Union County, could have been affected in a very negative way when the state made the decision to run Interstate 78 right through its northern fringe. Thankfully, wildlife crossings have made sure that the animals at the park can travel safely between the now-severed sections.
Keechelus Lake, Washington
Currently under construction, the animal bridge on Washington State’s I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East is due for completion in late 2014. I-90 currently acts as a barrier to wildlife trying to migrate through the Central Cascade Mountains, likely isolating wildlife populations.