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Joseph A. Burns CWB
National Transportation Ecology Program Leader
Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants
1400 Independance Ave SW - MS1121
Washington, D.C. 20250-1121
(202) 205-0919
jaburns@fs.fed.us

Sandra Jacobson
Wildlife Biologist
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Research Station
(541) 678-5240
sjacobson@fs.fed.us

 

You are here: HOME » Case Histories » Retrofitting Case Histories
Retrofitting Case Histories

Tijeros Pass, New Mexico

This retrofitting project is noteworthy on several levels. First, it illustrates how much can be accomplished using a very small budget. Second, several innovative features were used on the project including animal warning systems and the combined use of an interstate underpass with wildilfe and vehicles.

Retrofitting projects can be considerably less expensive than their new construction counterparts.

Transportation Enhancements

The Tijeros Canyon project cost several hundred thousand dollars instead of millions, and yet it was able to incorporate existing bridges and underpasses to create essentially new structures. The Transportation Enhancement program funded the project.

Elements of this project include the fencing of the Interstate, which alone would have created a major reduction in animal/vehicle collisions but would not have assisted animals with the need to cross the highway. To accomplish permeability, an existing multiple-chambered culvert and underpass were modified to be more wildlife-friendly. A bridge that was so heavily vegetated that it reduced visibility through the structure beyond what was appealing to many species of wildlife was cleared to a reduced level.

The project was at the location of exit/entrance ramps, so a system was necessary to reduce the possibility than animals would enter the interstate through these ramps. A system called Electromat was chosen, which is an embedded electrical system that causes an aversive but not dangerous shock. Finally, an Animal Detection System was installed to warn drivers of animals crossing in areas that could not be fenced.

 

 

Page Last Modified: February 18, 2014


Additional Information

Several other sources now provide case history information of value to public land managers.

The most thorough and current treatment of the 'flagship' projects such as Montana US 93, Arizona SR 260, and Washington Interstate 90 projects are found in the new book, Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity, edited by JP Beckmann, AP Clevenger, MP Huijser, and JA Hilty (Island Press, 2010).

Chock full of excellent detail and images, the Best Practices Manual Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study, Report to Congress (2008) is available online.