Work to Begin on US 285 for New Wildlife Underpass

March 7, 2018 - Project will enhance safety along highway corridor near Nathrop

Starting on Monday, March 12, crews will begin work on US Highway (US) 285 from the US 285/US 24 junction to Nathrop. The goal of the $3.5 million project is to enhance safety along this corridor with the construction of a wildlife underpass and the installation of a new left-turn lane at a busy county road.

"Approximately 70 deer have been killed by motor vehicles in the past two years in this location and close to 250 in the last decade, making safety a concern for both motorists and wildlife," said Andrea Meduna, project engineer. "As much as 70 percent of all reported crashes in this area are wildlife-vehicle collisions. Studies have shown that wildlife crossings, coupled with fencing, can reduce collisions by over 75 percent."

The wildlife underpass will be approximately 85 feet long, 12 feet tall and 32 feet wide. Deer fencing will also be installed, which will help channel the animals into the underpass. This eight-foot-tall fence will stretch approximately one-quarter mile south of the underpass and approximately one mile north of the underpass.

Other features will include "jump-outs" or wildlife escape ramps, which are one-way earthen ramps that animals can use to get back over the fence to safety, should they get trapped within the highway corridor. Additionally, deer guards (like cattle guards only wider) will be installed at highway accesses and small mammal crossings will be constructed under the highway.

The project also includes widening of the highway to accommodate a new left-turn lane for southbound US 285 traffic turning onto Chaffee County Road 301/Fisherman's Bridge.

Project Schedule

Work on US 285 is scheduled to begin Monday, March 12 with a completion date in June.

Normal working hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. In special cases these hours may be extended.

Weekend work is not anticipated.