Animal Bridges Around the World: Bridges for Bears and Tunnels for Tortoises


Wildlife under- and overpasses are remarkably effective for saving lives, both human and animal.

Conservationists and architects get together to engineer animal bridges to reduce fatalities for both animals and humans. Ever-expanding roads cut animals off from the resources they need for survival.

Engineers design the bridges to be natural-looking and to no frighten the animals. Fencing is directing wildlife to the area and additional details encourage the animals to use the crossings.

Traffic-spanning bridges and tunnels have been popular in Europe since the 1950s. The first wildlife-crossing was built in France to help hunters guide deer. Over 66 overpasses in the Netherlands are saving badgers, boars, and deer.

France, Switzerland, Germany, the United States, and Canada have picked up the pace and made extensive use of wildlife crossings on early phases of any ecological road infrastructure. Maryland’s $2 billion Intercounty Connection (ICC) included a plan to build 10 animal underpasses from the very beginning.

Washington State started the construction of its first wildlife bridge in 2015. The crossing runs over Interstate 90 from Seattle to Boston and will be finished in the fall of 2020. Deer and coyotes are already using it.

There are cameras installed to motion-capture the wildlife and their travel patterns. In some areas, a 90 percent reduction in vehicle-animal collisions was detected.

Animal bridges create harmony between modernization and animal life.


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