Gallery: Innovative Wildlife Crossings for Denver’s Perilous I-70 West

Wild (X)ing by The Olin Studio The modular units are used as like in some green roofs and each are planted with a variety of native plants and trees.

Wild (X)ing by The Olin Studio

The modular units are used as like in some green roofs and each are planted with a variety of native plants and trees.

The ARC International Wildlife Crossing Design Competition asked architects and designers to come up with beautiful and compelling designs able to meet the needs and improve the safety for both the people and the wildlife. The competition also highlighted the desire to implement solutions that used materials that would give way to less costly infrastructure improvements.

In the last 15 years, vehicle-wildlife collisions have increased by 50%, posing dangers for both the wildlife and humans, and ultimately costing Americans $8 billion annually. The competition sought to generate feasible design solutions geared specifically for the I-70 highway corridor West of Denver and just after the Vail Pass, as well as ideas that could be implemented all over North America.

Five architects and their teams were selected as finalists this last week and include, Janet Rosenberg & Associations from Toronto, HNTB Engineering with Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates from New York, The Olin Studio from Philadelphia, Zwarts & Jansma from Amsterdam, and Balmori Associates of New York. Many of the designs follow a similar pattern of a large landscaped bridge that crosses the interstate and funnels wildlife across a safe path. Some of the finalists include modular and prefabricated construction as well as techniques used for green roof plantings.

+ ARC International Wildlife Crossing Design Competition

Via Bustler


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  1. Cueball December 4, 2010 at 1:49 am

    This type of land bridge structure for animals has been in use or years (approx 10yrs to my memory) in Banff And Jasper National Parks in Canada. The Hwy system is fenced-off in all directions with the bridges as often as 2-3km, thus funneling the animals towards the land bridge. YES they work great, and have been saving the lives of Humans and the Animals since introduced.

  2. clou December 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    In response to tjane09’s comment:
    Yes, it’s true that animals won’t naturally seek out bridges unless the bridges are designed to take advantage of land-form and habitat patterns. Another key component of these bridges which has not been widely reported is that all of the proposals include fencing between bridges, underpasses, and disruptive terrain features (i.e. steep rocky slopes – though not a problem for bighorn sheep). Animals don’t cross the highway randomly, rather a significant amount of field research suggests that ideal locations for bridges such as these can be pinpointed and that animals can be funneled onto them. Of course, these proposals will need to be refined over time as the knowledge expands, but they’re a great start!

  3. tjane09 December 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    this is a good idea in theory…but most animals aren’t goin to say…hey why don’t i walk a couple minutes down that way and safely cross over the highway with that bridge…. they are just going to cross the highway…

  4. Dim December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I remember a West Wing episode years ago where “dimwitted” conservationists proposed building a animals only highway as a way to protect animals. In the show the scientists were basically laughed out of the building. The shows “solution” was rediculous but the problem that it tried to address is very real.
    It’s nice to see that people are taking looking into ways to save lives and protect animals.

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