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STEER CLEAR

A $5 million wildlife overpass in Utah has just one problem: humans

wildlife overpass for animals
Wary of people.
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

For the most part, Utah’s $5 million wildlife overpass at Parleys Summit has been a success since opening seven months ago. Officials expected it to take several years before animals grew accustomed to using the large, natural-looking structure, but it seems to have happened already. Guided by miles of fencing, raccoons, bobcats, deer, elk, moose, cougars, and coyotes have taken advantage of the overpass, avoiding collisions with vehicles on Interstate 80 below.

There’s just one problem: people. In addition to the animals, cameras have caught skiers, hikers, runners, and mountain bikers also using the overpass. The smell of humans, of course, is enough to persuade some animals to avoid the structure. That means they’re more likely to try crossing the six-lane highway below, putting themselves and drivers at risk.

For now, Utah officials are trying to deter humans by placing more warning signs near the overpass. Should that fail, authorities could start fining anyone caught using it.

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