Post Cards From Nevada: Animal Bridge
For years people have made fun of the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Washoe Valley south of Reno. It carries cars, but doesn't seem to go anywhere.
We found a $1 million bridge north of Wells that not only doesn't seem to go anywhere, it's not even meant for cars or even foot traffic at least not the two footed kind.
"We basically last year in the fall migration, we basically got about 3,600 deer through or over the structures in one full migration. So we have averted just under 3,600 possibilities of those collisions..."
This bridge is meant for four footed travelers, but it's not an animal luxury. It's meant to save your life.
"There's a lot of deer vehicle collisions on the stretch of road. And we documented it through the years and our effort is to try to reduce those number of collisions and possibly even save lives."
"The Nevada Department Transportation, the highway patrol, they were seeing a lot of hits. We get called on them as well so we saw them as well. And it just worked out naturally that's two agencies would cooperate and work on this together near here for the public safety and we are too."
Over a 5-year period N-DOT estimates there were 2,000 crashes between man and animal - 1,500 of those were deer.
Nationally it costs between $5-8-billion a year in property damage. Not to mention loss of life.
Heavy deer bodies and antlers can go right through a windshield or force you off the road.
So the animals got their own bridge.
But how do you get them to cross it? Are there little exit signs on the game trails? "The fence, they just follow along, and there is gaps at the bridges that guide them right in to the bridge itself. We've done things on the approaches to make it easy for the approaching deer crossing over the bridge and get over it and then, you are generally limited on top of the bridge or in the box which is under the roadway...they just tend to wander off the other side."
And it's not just deer checking out the sites. "We have got photos of elk and antelope in this area and, there's other small animals coyotes probably bobcats."
I wonder if they are taking pictures too?
Nevada is a pioneer in those bridges which may soon be popping up in other states as well.
More animals Monday night, but much more controversial.
Part one of our look at the wild horse problem - and the people who have to deal with it on the front lines.