Nevada I-80 wildlife crossings win environmental award

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The Federal Highway Administration has issued an environmental excellence award to state wildlife and transportation officials for creating wildlife safety crossings on special highway overpasses in northeast Nevada.

The award recognizes nine safety crossings installed on Interstate 80 in Elko County between Wendover and Wells, and U.S. Highway 93 north of Wells to reduce potentially dangerous vehicle-animal collisions.

The overpasses are covered with native soil and vegetation to replicate the natural environment and encourage crossing by mule deer, elk and other animals.

Nevada's departments of transportation and wildlife worked together to identify the most critical deer migration and roadway-crossing points, including GPS collars to track the migratory movements of hundreds of deer.

In total, roughly 60 miles (96 kilometers) of eight-foot-high (2.5-meter-high) wildlife fencing was installed on both sides of the roadway to help direct animals to the crossings.