Wildlife underpass construction on Idaho 21 begins next week
BOISE -- Once the Fourth of July holiday traffic has cleared, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will begin setting the groundwork for construction of a wildlife underpass and associated big game fence on Idaho 21 on Tuesday, July 6.
The underpass and fence near milepost 18, which is being built with federal stimulus dollars, is intended to reduce the high number of vehicle-wildlife collisions that occur along the scenic byway as mule deer and elk migrate between their summer and winter ranges. Each year there are approximately 75-100 collisions with mule deer and 5-10 collisions with elk, costing the state an estimated $750,000 to $1 million in insurance claims, deductibles, medical expenses, disability leave, lost wildlife resources, and manpower and equipment for carcass removal.
Before the actual construction of the underpass begins, crews will first build a paved diversion road around the area for traffic. The temporary bypass will take about 10 days to construct.
Once traffic is moved onto the temporary bypass, a small section of Idaho 21 roadway will be demolished and the soil underneath dug out to create the underpass. A new bridge will be constructed over the excavated section and traffic returned to the highway.
The location of the underpass was selected due to its historic road kill numbers and known migratory routes.
The project is expected to take 75 calendar days. McAlvain Construction is the contractor. The cost of the bridge and surrounding fencing is $756,000.
drivers to slow down in the work zone, watch out for construction trucks moving
in and out of the roadway, and pay close attention to traffic signs and
signals. Motorists also are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-1-1 or visit
511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.