The interstate 90 has a vital part in connecting people and businesses in the Northwest, but it is built straight through the natural habitat of several species, who suffer greatly because of our presence in that area. Every year hundreds of animals are killed by drivers and because they cannot find a safe way to pass the interstate, many species cannot breed with genetic vigor, which leads to long-term damages done to the original species.
However, after years of raising awareness to the cause of the animals that have their home divided in half by the I-90, the Washington authorities have decided to build the first overpass, which will allow bears, foxes, elks and other animals to safely cross the interstate.
Ecologists have emphasized how much the animals need to be able to freely move in the Cascades to find food, better habitat if something happens to affects their old one and mates to breed with. They also lobby to have 100,000 acres of land returned to the federal government. For the time being, the land is exploited by timber companies.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation started the construction of the overpass east of Snoqualmie Pass. The structure will measure 150 feet long and will cover a 15 mile stretch of freeway, as many have said it, this is quite an ambitious project.
This project has the great potential of turning the I-90, which was the least friendly wildlife freeway to the friendliest one in the country. Patricia Garvey-Darda, who works as a biologist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, has said that this is a most welcome change into the way authorities have handled the matter of wildlife along the interstate so far and that, thanks to this overpass, every species, regardless of its size, will be able to safely cross the freeway.
The 15 mile overpass will stretch from Hyak to Easton and will be formed out of 20 major underpasses and overpasses. Small culverts will also be built to allow an easier access. Until now, 4 overpasses have been built and footage captured by the cameras installed on the overpasses, have shown coyotes, ducks, deer and other creatures using the new passageway.
The new overpass is covered by the $1 billion allocated for expanding the I-90 from four to six lines, to smooth out curves and improved safety as well as driving conditions. Thanks to the new overpass, living and breeding conditions are set to improve greatly for the highly rich wildlife that leave in the forests of Washington.
Image Source: djc