A porcupine and a bear don’t usually have a lot in common — but in Utah, they both have the same commute across Interstate 80.
The busy six-lane highway can be treacherous for wildlife, so the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources came up with a simple plan to reduce traffic accidents and protect the area’s furrier residents.
In December of 2018, the Parley’s Canyon wildlife overpass officially opened — a bridge solely for animals, covered in rocks, logs and boulders.
Animals typically need time to adjust to changes in their environment, and officials believed it would take years before the bridge was used.
But the animals were clearly grateful for the alternative option and researchers saw unexpected success almost overnight.
The Utah Department of Transportation and Utah State University monitor the “traffic” on the overpass via a hidden camera — and were pleasantly surprised when they saw how many lives it has saved in 2020.
In a video released in November, moose, deer, bears, porcupines, squirrels, bobcats and raccoons mosey across the pebbled walkway, gaining safe passage to new territory and feeding grounds.
You can see all the animals the bridge has saved here:
“It’s working!” the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wrote on Facebook. “As you can see, the 2nd year of this overpass has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well.”
The overpass has been such a success that six additional wildlife crossings and fences have been built along Utah’s animal migration routes in 2020.
It’s impossible to know how many lives they’ve saved — but it goes to show that a little thoughtfulness can make a big impact.