The construction of roadways can sometimes disrupt the natural migration paths for wildlife. To remedy this, wildlife crossings can be constructed above or below roadways to facilitate a safe passage. Structures with wide clear spans and small footprints enable crossing over environmentally sensitive areas with little impact to the environment.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) needed a structure on I-70 that would provide safe passage for wildlife migrating across the interstate. The project location is approximately 5 miles east of the I-15 junction, just southeast of Cove Fort at the foot of Clear Creek Canyon. The area was carefully examined by UDOT and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and was found to be a critical wildlife migration area and concern for motor safety.
UDOT worked with Lochner and Contech to design a structure beneath the existing roadway. The project was on both a tight schedule and budget which required a fast installation and cost efficient structure.
A CON/SPAN® structure from Contech was the chosen solution for the wildlife crossing due to its low cost, ideal aesthetics, wide clear span and small footprint. Two 48’ x 11’ x 50’ CON/SPAN bridge structures were installed along both the east- and west-bound lanes.
“The CON/SPAN used on our I-70 Wildlife Crossing was great for this application,” said Lyndon Friant, P.E., Resident Engineer with the Utah Department of Transportation, Region Four. “It was installed quickly and effectively, allowing for minimal impact to the traveling public compared to a conventional, cast-in-place structure.”
Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction was committed to finishing the project within the alloted time frame and worked in stages in order to keep the freeway open throughout construction. Sunroc, the project subcontractor, performed the excavation for the site.
“The CON/SPAN structure went together quickly and, as per design, with no major problems,” said Joel Eberhard, Project Manager with Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction.
The Utah DWR was also pleased with the CON/SPAN structures and is confident that this will be popular wildlife crossing solution.
“The animals have already begun to use the structure,” said Bruce Bonebrake, Habitat Program Manager with UDWR. “I think the structure will be a huge success and envision deer, elk, bear, cougar, coyote, fox, raccoon, rabbit and turkey - among other animals - all utilizing the crossing.”
The job was completed in November of 2010, just before the first snow fall.