10/24/2014

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King Co. to build wildlife crossing near dangerous Redmond road

King Co. to build wildlife crossing near dangerous Redmond road
REDMOND, Wash. -- Each year, there are 160 deaths nationwide caused by collisions with wildlife.

Novelty Hill Road outside of Redmond is a danger spot, but theoretically not for long.

The intersection of progress and solitude, the area has seen a ton of growth in the past couple years. But the area is still home to a variety of wildlife including deer, elk, coyotes and even cougars.

The problem is when area wildlife is on the move, the animals have to cross Novelty Hill Road and risk being hit by the vehicles that use the roadway.

To prevent collisions, King county will build a "wildlife crossing" this fall in the form of a 40-foot-wide overpass. The county says the move will protect people just as much animals.

"There is a high risk for people to get hurt at this location," said Rick Brater, project manager of King County Roads.

The project will use $5.8 million from a grant from the Federal Highway Administration, and King County will fund the remaining $300,000.

The county has high hopes for the wildlife crossing idea, which first hatched in Europe.

"In areas in Canada, it seems to be working very well, and there are parts of Wyoming and Nevada where it's working very well," Brater said.

Fences and trees will help funnel the wildlife to the crossing, and the hope is that nature will take its course after that.

The only other wildlife crossing in Washington state is near Cle Elum.
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