This 150-Foot-Long Structure Is Designed To Provide Wildlife A Safe Passage Over The I-90

232

Interstate 90 is a lifeline for the Northwest, connecting people and economies across the Cascades and linking the region to the rest of the country.

For wildlife, though, it’s a killer — and not just because many of them wind up squashed. Multiple lanes of pavement and high-speed traffic affects habitat more ruthlessly than any fence, isolating populations and disturbing natural balance that’s the key to long-term survival.

But part of that barrier is now being lifted.

The state Department of Transportation recently broke ground east of Snoqualmie Pass on the state’s first freeway overpass for animals. The 150-foot-long structure is designed to provide safe passage for species ranging from black bear and cougar to deer, elk — and even squirrels, mice and lizards.

It’s part of an ambitious project to convert a 15-mile stretch of interstate into one of the world’s most wildlife-friendly highways.


Here’s a rendition of the Price Creek crossing site.

A rendition of the Price Creek crossing site.

One of the I-90 widening project underpasses for wildlife at Gold Creek.

One of the I-90 widening project underpasses for wildlife, at Gold Creek, Tues., June 2, 2015, near Hyak east of Snoqualmie Pass. Construction will start soon on the state's first overpass.

Monitoring amphibians using a device which can pick up the audible ping sent by a tagged frog.

Craig Fergus, a Central Washington University biology graduate student, monitor amphibians using a device which can pick up the audible ping sent by a tagged frog, Tues., June 2, 2015, near I-90, at Cabin Creek. The I-90 widening project already includes several underpasses for wildlife, and construction will start soon on the state's first overpass, but not at this location.

David Reavill, a Central Washington University biology graduate student, monitor amphibians, like this Cascades Frog, which was tagged, Tues., June 2, 2015, near I-90 at Cabin Creek. The I-90 widening project already includes several underpasses for wildlife, and construction will start soon on the state's first overpass, although not at this location.

Deer using the new Gold Creek undercrossing just east of Snoqualmie Pass.

Deer using the new Gold Creek undercrossing just east of Snoqualmie Pass. September 2014. credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

A remote camera captures deer using the new Gold Creek undercrossing. There’s also another underpass that helps animals that need wet conditions, such as amphibians and ducks.

Deer using the new Gold Creek undercrossing just east of Snoqualmie Pass May 30, 2015. credit: Washington State Department of Transportation