Ga. Plans Tunnels as Safe Road Crossings for Bears

Ga. Plans Tunnels as Safe Road Crossings for Bears

by -

Brown bear in wildGeorgia transportation officials are planning to add a half-dozen bear tunnels beneath a highway in what will be a first-of-its-kind project for the state.

A project manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation says preliminary plans have already been completed and the state is now buying land along State Route 96, according to the AP report from WSPA.

Similar engineering efforts have helped other animals cross roads, including endangered panthers in Florida for whom tunnels were built. The passageway under the highway that bisects the 18,000-acre Paynes Prairie wetland in Gainesville has been a huge success at reducing roadkill.

In 2008, miniature tunnels were built in a Canadian national park south of Calgary to save hundreds of migrating salamanders from being squashed by traffic.

When tunnels don’t work, other measures do: Nature lovers in Derbyshire have worked as crossing guards to help toads in their town; Taiwan even shuts down traffic lanes, lowers speed limits and erects nets to guide butterflies safely over a highway during their annual migration period (see the 2009 video here).