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Fri February 12, 2010
Wildlife using Baggs highway underpass
By Uli Wiehr
Laramie, WY – A newly installed highway underpass for migrating animals north of Baggs is working well so far. Several thousand mule deer, pronghorn, bobcats and other animals used it in the fall and winter to migrate across Highway 789 to their winter range.
Mark Zornes is the Green River wildlife management coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He says the new underpass near Baggs and others in Nugget Canyon near Kemmerer have brought highway collisions with animals down significantly. Three to five hundred animals were killed per year in those areas before the underpasses were installed. Just about 35 died last year. Zornes says the underpasses help both animals and motorists: "It's pretty nice to drive down Nugget Canyon right now and not have to worry about hitting multiple deer on your way through that canyon at night. It is a huge safety issue. This has been a win-win project all the way around."
Zornes says the improved safety justifies the one-point-two million dollar price tag for each underpass. The Department is planning to install more of them around Baggs.