US93 Post Construction Wildlife Vehicle Collision and Wildlife Crossing Monitoring and Research

Abstract: The US Highway 93 (US 93) reconstruction project on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwest Montana represents one of the most extensive wildlife-sensitive highway design efforts in North America. The reconstruction of the 56 mile (90 km) long road section includes the installation of 41 fish- and wildlife crossing structures and approximately 8.3 miles (13.4 km) of road length with wildlife exclusion fencing on both sides of the road. The mitigation measures are aimed at improving safety for the traveling public through reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and allowing wildlife to continue to move across the landscape and the road. In 2002, prior to US 93’s reconstruction, WTI (in partnership with FHWA and the Montana Department of Transportation) initiated a before-after field study to assess the effectiveness of the wildlife mitigation measures. Preconstruction field data collection efforts were completed in the fall of 2005 and a final report on the preconstruction monitoring findings was published in January 2007. This follow-up project will incorporate post-construction monitoring to collect data for before-after comparisons. The focus of the evaluation will be to investigate whether mitigation efforts enhance human safety (through reduced wildlife vehicle collisions), maintain habitat connectivity for wildlife, and are cost-effective. This effort is conducted by WTI, in partnership with Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the Montana Department of Transportation, and the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration of USDOT. This project represents the portion sponsored by MDT.

Sponsoring Organization: Montana Department of Transportation

Starting Date: 1/15/2010

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