News

New Phase of I-70 West Wildlife Fence Installation Underway

February 14, 2013 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - GARFIELD COUNTY – Ideal Fencing Corporation of Colorado has been contracted by the Colorado Department of Transportation for $2.8 million to start a new phase of wildlife fence installation along I-70 between west Rifle (mile marker 87) and Canyon Creek west of Glenwood Springs (mile marker 110).

The work consists of removing existing state right of way fence where necessary, and repairing or installing approximately 150,000 linear feet of eight-foot-high wildlife fence. For the 24-mile stretch, this is what the project will include:

  • 48 miles of wildlife fencing – 24 on the south side, 24 on the north side; this includes 35 miles of new fence and 13 miles of repaired fence.
  • 54 wildlife escape ramps - 27 on the north side and 27 on the south side of I-70; these one-way escape ramps are soil ramps (with mesh material included for erosion control) that enable wildlife to escape the highway right of way. Ramps are built on the highway side of the fence, at a six-foot high “notch” in the fence, allowing wildlife to jump down to safety on the other side. (See photo of previous ramp construction near Gypsum on our media room site at http://www.coloradodot.info/news/media-room.html.)
  • 7 deer guards – these are just like cattle guards, installed at highway accesses, but wider (in the travel direction), as deer and elk can jump the narrower cattle guards.
  • 8 ‘special’ deer guards – these will be installed at interstate ramps in West Rifle, Rifle and at Tibbetts Landing (a boat put-in access further west); they consist of pre-formed plastic pavement markings inlaid into cut depressions in the pavement. They function a bit like a highway rumble strip to slow exiting motorists down, and they also deter wildlife from crossing over and entering the interstate. They are about the same size as the regular metal deer guards, 16 feet wide (as the direction of travel) and 30 feet long (across the highway ramps).

Today, and for the next two weeks, crews will have fence repairs underway; the project will continue through October 2013. In about two weeks, some periodic single-lane and shoulder closures will begin and, in the work zone when necessary, the speed limit will be reduced to 55 mph. Any travel impacts will occur Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM. Some Saturday work may be necessary.

On average, wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC) on the I-70 west corridor, from Utah to the top of Vail Pass (mile marker 0 to 190) account for 13.6 percent of all reported collisions along the stretch. However, in the section from West Rifle to Canyon Creek (the project section between MM 87 and MM 110) WVCs make up 31.6 percent of all collisions.

“We consult with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife on these mitigation projects,” CDOT Resident Engineer Roland Wagner said. “Since fencing and escape ramps were constructed along sections of SH 82 over the past couple of years, wildlife-vehicle collisions have gone down. Wildlife fencing, particularly when installed with other measures like signs and ramps, is typically the most cost-effective way to reduce the incidence of these types of collisions. ”

In 2010, CDOT completed installation of wildlife fencing and escape ramps along I-70 between Gypsum and Dowd Junction, at US 24 (MM 140 to MM 173). The project also installed signs on US 6.

For updated project information, the public may call the project manager Dan Mierkey at 970-462-3211 or write to [email protected].  For CDOT Road Condition & Traveler Information, please go to www.cotrip.org or call 511. Better yet, sign up for wireless alerts on road conditions in your chosen area by logging on to www.coloradodot.info and choosing the green phone icon.

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