In an effort to decrease a growing number of vehicle/animal collisions along the I-25 corridor in Douglas County, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be partnering with other entities to build fencing.
CDOT is partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the City of Castle Pines, the Town of Castle Rock and Douglas County to create the safety plan along I-25 near Castle Pines and Castle Rock.
According to CDOT, recent and historical incidents of vehicle/animal collisions along the I-25 corridor in Douglas County, paired with growing public concern for safety in the area, led to a multi-agency plan to install 16 miles of wildlife fencing on the east and west sides of I-25 from the Ridgegate exit in Lone Tree to the Meadows/Founders exit in Castle Rock.
CDOT will begin fence construction in February 2022, with construction expected to take an estimated three months.
The $1.5 million project is being funded through CDOT. Melissa Hoelting, the Castle Rock community relations managers, said the town will not be contributing any funds and is only a cooperating partner for the project.
Prior to the fence installation, project partners will amplify public education encouraging drivers to take extra caution as they travel through the corridor, especially during the fall migratory period, which CDOT officials said is high in October and November.
CDOT and Douglas County are also collaborating on posting overhead electronic message boards along the corridor to inform drivers who may not be aware of the potential danger.
Besides fencing, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are also working to educate drivers on how to react and prevent collisions with animals. Wildlife officials say drivers should be on heightened alert at all times where wildlife is more active, particularly at dusk and dawn.
If drivers do see wildlife in the roadway, wildlife officials say they should not swerve as they are more likely to wreck when trying to avoid an animal. It is best to slow down if possible and look for other wildlife as most travel in groups.
According to a recent article by Pew, a think tank that aims to improve public policy through research and analysis, Colorado is among the top states in the nation in protecting wildlife migration corridors. A wildlife mitigation system installed along Highway 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling saw wildlife/vehicle collisions decrease by more than 90%.
CDOT officials said they expect to have similar success in decreasing vehicle/animal collisions once fencing is in place in the Castle Pines and Castle Rock area.
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