Ministry starts Coquihalla fencing project to prevent wildlife from becoming roadkill | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Ministry starts Coquihalla fencing project to prevent wildlife from becoming roadkill

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Scott Bauer
June 20, 2020 - 7:15 AM

Construction crews start work next week to build nearly 25 kilometres of new fencing along the Coquihalla Highway, south of Merritt, that will help keep travellers and wildlife safe.

"Our government is committed to a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system, as well as supporting wildlife in their natural ecosystems," said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a press release. "I am pleased to see this addition to our wildlife-exclusion system, reducing wildlife-related accidents to protect people and wildlife from harm."

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On average, there are approximately 160 wildlife-related vehicle accidents each year on Highway 5, 75 per cent of which are with deer. Wildlife-exclusion fencing is 1.2 metres higher than livestock fencing, blocking larger animals, such as deer, moose and elk from provincial highways. The exclusion fencing works by redirecting the animals to existing wildlife underpasses, allowing for the safe movement of animal populations under the highway, according to the news release. The project costs $1.2 million.

The fencing will replace current livestock fencing along both sides of Highway 5, starting at Comstock Road and running 12 kilometres southbound until it connects with existing wildlife-exclusion fencing.

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"The City of Merritt is pleased the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is creating new wildlife-exclusion fencing along Highway 5 south of Merritt," said Mayor Linda A. Brown, in the news release. "This is an importation corridor not only for our community but for the entire province. I, along with my fellow council members, am proud to have this additional protection for both travellers and our native animal population in the Nicola Valley. This fencing will ensure the safe movement of animals. It comes at a key time with higher numbers of guests visiting our beautiful region each year."

The project adds to the nearly 180 kilometres of wildlife-exclusion fencing already in place along Highway 5.


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