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Animals Love New Underpass on Highway 160 East of Durango... Except for Elk

Animals are voting in favor of a new underpass beneath U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Bayfield – voting with their feet, that is. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports that photos taken with a remote camera show myriad deer, coyotes, raccoons and other animals scurrying under the highway. The underpass was built by the state Department of Transportation with guidance from CPW and was completed in 2016. CDOT says while it is too early to know whether the underpass has reduced collisions, information from other places with underpasses or overpasses for animals clearly shows that vehicular accidents are reduced. Unfortunately, researchers say that elk seem to prefer overpasses to underground passages and haven’t used the Bayfield crossing. CDOT, CPW and the Southern Ute Tribe are looking into building an overpass across Highway 160 near Chimney Rock National Monument west of Pagosa Springs.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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