Careers Contact Us
Start A Project mobile

U.S. 40 Wildlife Crossing

Heber City, Utah

Wildlife Underpass

Engineer:

AECOM

Contractor:

Knife River

Installation:

August 2019

Technical Description:

• BridgeCor® Structural Plate Ellipse
• Span: 27-ft.
• Rise: 15-ft. 9-in.
• Length: 161 ft.

U.S. 40 extends through Strawberry Valley in Wasatch County providing access to several recreational opportunities and serves as the main connector for motorists traveling from the Uintah Basin to the Wasatch Front. This high alpine valley is abundant with wildlife including deer and elk that cross the highway on a daily basis leading to numerous wildlife/vehicle crashes. To enhance safety for the traveling public and reduce the amount of animal strikes on U.S. 40, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) initiated a $28.6 million construction project to extend passing lanes by 5 miles, rebuild 17 miles of pavement, and construct a wildlife crossing under the highway. 

"U.S. 40 carries a wide variety of traffic from semis to motorcycles so building features to help manage how and where wildlife cross the road would enhance safety for drivers and reduce the number of wildlife strikes along the highway," stated Larry Montoya, the UDOT's Project Manager.

The UDOT design team, with the help of state biologists from the Division of Wildlife Resource determined that the best solution was to construct a wildlife underpass located just east of Daniel's Summit. The UDOT selected and installed a 27' span x 15'-9" rise 7 gage, galvanized BridgeCor® Structural Plate from Contech Engineered Solutions due to its past experience and success with similar structures across the state. The plate structure was the ideal solution considering its low cost and ability to provide the required open area. 

Wildlife underpasses are designed to create an open feel so that animal migration is more successful. The elliptical shape of the BridgeCor system accommodated both a wide span and a low profile to fit under U.S. 40, meeting the project requirements.

During the design stage of the project, the UDOT and AECOM, the consulting engineer, had to determine the best way to accommodate the daily traffic load on U.S. 40. The challenge was met by installing the wildlife underpass in two phases. The first phase included the installation and backfilling of 78' of the 161' long BridgeCor structure. At that point, the second phase of the project was initiated. Traffic was routed over the new part of the structure while the remaining 83' of the structure was installed and backfilled. By constructing the project in two phases, traffic along U.S. 40 remained open throughout the project's duration.

In addition to the BridgeCor structure, safety was further enhanced by repaving 17 miles of the highway and constructing a new, 5-mile long section to the westbound passing lane. 

"Extending the westbound passing lanes provides a safer opportunity for drivers to pass slower moving vehicles than before," said Montoya. "These improvements combined with the underpass and wildlife fencing further enchance roadway safety by directing wildlife to cross at a focused location." 

Technical Description:

• BridgeCor® Structural Plate Ellipse
• Span: 27-ft.
• Rise: 15-ft. 9-in.
• Length: 161 ft.

800-338-1122 | www.ContechES.com

© 2020 Contech Engineered Solutions LLC, a QUIKRETE Company