Alberta building wildlife overpass to improve highway safety
By Adam FreillBridges Construction Roads
Province building infrastructure to reduce the risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions along the Trans-Canada Highway.
A wildlife overpass crossing on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Bow Valley area, near Banff National Park in Alberta, is expected to reduce the risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions and improve safety for drivers and wildlife.
Currently being built by PME EllisDon, the wildlife crossing will be located east of Canmore near Lac Des Arcs and is the first wildlife overpass to be built outside of Banff National Park.
“This overpass will drastically reduce the chances of wildlife-vehicle collisions,” said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation. “The overpass will not only increase safety for the travelling public and wildlife, it will save thousands of dollars each year in property damage caused by collisions.”
Construction of the wildlife crossing is expected to be complete by fall 2023. The overpass includes 12 kilometres of wildlife fencing along the highway to help guide wildlife toward safe crossing points.
“The wildlife overpass announced today will create a safe, natural route for wildlife crossing in the Bow Valley area, preserving their well-being and protecting the lives of Albertans as they travel Highway 1,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks.
Cost of the project is estimated at $17.5 million, and it will support 102 direct and indirect jobs. Roughly 30,000 vehicles travel this stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway every day, with an average of 69 vehicle-wildlife collisions annually on the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff National Park and Highway 40.
“I appreciate that Alberta Transportation has heard the concerns of wildlife experts, local environment groups, and residents and visitors of the Bow Valley,” stated Lisa Rosvold, reeve of the Municipal District of Bighorn. “This wildlife overpass will provide vital infrastructure that further protects this environmentally sensitive area, ensures a thriving and reconnected wildlife habitat and increases vehicle safety for everyone on the Trans-Canada Highway.”
“The Bow Valley Gap overpass is one huge step closer to being used by elk, bears and other wildlife,” added Adam Linnard, Alberta program manager of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “We’re thrilled to see overpasses added to the provincial tool kit, and to see this overpass added to the network of collision mitigations that help make wildlife and people safer and better connected in the Bow Valley.”