JACKSON, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK) - Over 500 animals were killed in collisions with vehicles on Teton County, Wyoming roads in the past year.
Teton County, the Town of Jackson, and Wyoming Department of Transportation are leading a group of local agencies and non-profits to raise public awareness. The winter season of December to March is the highest-risk time of year. More than 50 percent of all annual collisions take place at that time.
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation estimates the cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions from May 2016 to April 2017 was more than $3 million.
"It is critically important that drivers are aware of the increased risk of wildlife collisions throughout the valley in the winter months," said Amy Ramage, Engineering Manager at Teton County. "As we work collaboratively with the community to identify long-term strategies to deal with this issue, the best thing a driver can do is be aware, drive cautiously, and slow
A project aimed at analyzing options to reduce those collisions is underway. Ramage said the "Wildlife Crossings Master Plan" is reviewing speed limit reductions, roadside signs, and permanent wildlife crossing infrastructure. The plan is in draft form.
While the plan moves forward, the public awareness campaign is aimed at getting drivers to pay attention and slowdown, especially at night. "Drivers may think that there is less risk when driving in Jackson, but wildlife corridors exist right within the Town limits," said Town of Jackson spokesman Carl Pelletier.
The Jackson Town Council recently approved a speed limit change on Broadway to address a high-risk "hot-zone" from the Flat Creek/Pearl/Broadway intersection all the way to the "Y" intersection near Albertson's on Highway 22. The new limit was reduced from 35 to 30 miles per hour.