Posts tagged: highways
MOUNTAIN PASSES — The Washington Transportation Department has closed Cayuse Pass for the season, but conditions at nearby Chinook Pass are more favorable. Chinook Pass was reopened at noon Wednesday — but no one knows how long the road will remain open.
Cayuse Pass is on Highway 123 and Chinook Pass is on Highway 410 on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park.
Both passes are typically closed for the winter by deep snow and avalanche danger.
WILDLIFE — The signs along highways warning motorists that wildlife frequently crosses the road in certain stretches aren't random acts of government spending.
State's keep track of roadkill — what they pick up and where motor vehicles are reported to have collided with critters. fall and winter are the most hazardous times.
Statewide, more than 1,100 wildlife/vehicle collisions are reported to the Washington State Patrol every year. Many more go unreported but leave animals dead. Washington Department of Transportation crews remove an average of 3,500 deer and elk carcasses from highways every year.
Those “wildlife crossing” signs are placed in the hot spots for these statistics.
Eastern Washington areas with the highest wildlife/vehicle collision rates include:
Several factors combine to make late fall the peak of the “bumper crop.”
A 2008 analysis of deer-elk collisions along Washington state highways — the lead author was Woody Myers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife big-game researcher based in Spokane — gives state agencies more guidance in planning highway routes and when to use measures such as fencing or wildlife overpasses or underpasses.
WSDOT is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other stakeholders on a statewide Habitat Connectivity assessment that will identify areas where wildlife require movement across the highway.
The Hyak to Easton project under construction on I-90 has a number of wildlife crossing structures and wildlife fencing.
OUTDOOR TRAVEL — It's been a rough summer for the North Cascades Highway, and travelers visiting the many trailheads and scenic attractions the route accesses through North Cascades National Park.
A short stretch of the prized stretch of Highway 20 near Rainy Pass is closed by mudslides for the second time in six weeks.
This closure blocks through traffic from the East Side to the West Side of the state.
The Washington Transportation Department says it hopes to reopen the North Cascades Highway at noon on Thursday.
Late last week, rain-caused mudslides in several locations closed a stretch of the highway, also known as State Highway 20.
Transportation officials say crews are making good progress in clearing a half dozen slides.
The highway is the northernmost route across Washington’s Cascade Mountains.
Workers had been clearing snow up to 12 feet deep off Highway 123 for more than two months.
DOT said nearby Chinook Pass on Highway 410 should be reopened by Memorial Day weekend.
Both passes are closed in the winter by avalanche danger.
WILDLIFE — This video of a huge herd of wintering elk crossing a highway near Helena, Mont., has several interesting elements.
First, it's awesome to see so many wild elk after hunting so hard for them during the elk seasons and concluding that most of the elk in North America had vanished.
But after nursing my English Setter, Scout, through two gory run-ins with barbed wire during this year's bird hunting seasons (the latest is pictured at left), I was especially interested in seeing the elk hanging up in the barbed-wire fence before they could cross the highway. This is especially noticeable toward the end of the video.
I always hear that elk are hard on fences.
But it's pretty safe to say that the millions of miles of fences — especially barbed wire — stretched across our Western landscape are pretty darned hard on wildlife, too.
WILDLIFE — Ginger Ninde writes to thank people who helped her through an unfortunate encounter she just had with a whitetail fawn near her home in Medical Lake:
Thank you to everyone who patiently waited on highway 902 (both directions) while an injured fawn with broken legs struggled in the road. Many thanks to the man in the on-coming red truck with black dog for his help trying to get the little fawn to the side of the road and to the woman in the car behind him who also gently tried to help. Thank you Michelle for pulling in front of me and calling 911; words cannot express my gratitude for your kindness during such a horrible and sad situation. To the officer who arrived… thank you for ending the suffering.
I wish I could I have done something, anything to avoid hitting that young, innocent, graceful animal. It brings some solace to know what good people drive highway 902. P.S. To the one car that refused to wait… maybe you thought we were having a ho-down and there wasn’t a legitimate reason traffic was stopped. You squeezed around us in your big car as little one tried to drag itself to the side of the road. You gave your passengers a view I bet they wish they could forget.
WILDLIFE — Wildlife are quickly figuring out the safety benefits of an underpass built on Idaho Highway 21, where about 2,600 vehicles travel to and from the Boise area each day.
Instead of becoming roadkill, deer have been documented using the underpass to come and go while avoiding the collisions with vehicles that prompted the project.
An estimated 90 percent of a herd of 5,000 to 8,000 mule deer and a herd of 300 to 1,800 elk cross the highway each fall, when they come down from the mountains to the Boise Front and the Lucky Peak area.