Wildlife overpass and underpass aims to make highway safer in southwest Colorado

Local News

U.S. Highway 160 project. (Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife and CDOT).

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER (KDVR) — A new project on U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs will help enhance safer wildlife movement and reduce animal-vehicle collisions along the busy highway.

Construction for the $11.3 million project is slated to begin Spring 2021, and work will include a wildlife underpass structure just west of the U.S. 160 and CO 151 intersection. There will also be a wildlife overpass structure just east of the U.S. 160 and CO 151 intersection.

Construction crews will also install an 8-foot-tall exclusion fence along both sides of U.S. 160 throughout the project limits, approximately a two-mile stretch. The project also includes installation of a large deer guard on CO 151 at the approach to U.S. 160, similar to a cattle guard but much wider to prevent deer from jumping across and into the highway corridor.

The project site is located on U.S. 160 in Archuleta County, centered at the CO Highway 151 intersection, near Lake Capote and Chimney Rock National Monument. The project will span for approximately two miles on U.S. 160, about 13 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 37 miles east of Durango, between mile points 126-128.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) partnered with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and other organizations to construct a new wildlife mitigation project.

“This is a heavily used corridor by vehicles and an important area in the San Juan Basin for big game,” said Scott Wait, senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in a statement. “Deer and elk spend the warm months in the high country to the north; but most big game move to the important winter range areas south of the highway during the winter. So there is a huge number of deer and elk that cross the highway at that location.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories