The Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) applied STIC funds toward a goal of substantially reducing deer-vehicle collisions (DVC) along a busy interstate corridor.

A 2015 VTRC study of two unfenced underpasses along Interstate 64 discovered that, despite frequent use of the unfenced underpasses by deer, there was still a high degree of deer activity along the adjacent roadside and an associated high frequency of DVCs.

The VTRC used STIC funding to install wildlife fencing designed to guide wildlife into the two underpasses, as well as trail cameras to verify the system’s effectiveness. The project installed 8-foot-high fencing extending a half mile east and west of each underpass. Jump-outs were placed approximately every quarter mile to give animals trapped within the roadway a safe exit.

 

In previous years, VTRC recorded an average of seven crashes annually at both underpass sites. In the first year after installation, the new fencing decreased that number to just one crash at each site—a 90-percent reduction.

In a Virginia DOT video on the project, VTRC Associate Principal Research Scientist Bridget Donaldson said the fencing had proven so far to be a low-cost, effective solution for making two problematic stretches of highway safer. After monitoring the sites for 2 years, VTRC reported that the benefits from crash reduction exceeded the fencing costs in 1.8 years, and the fencing resulted in an average savings of over $2.3 million per site.


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