US6 Wildlife Crossing Alternatives

Wildlife Crossing on US6

CDOT is looking at alternatives to the existing at-grade wildlife crossing on US6 between Heritage Road and 19th Street. CDOT has long been concerned about the number of large animal auto accidents on this stretch of US6. In 2010, they installed fencing to try to limit crossing areas and provide for a safer environment for drivers since large animal collisions cause a substantial portion of the injury accidents along the foothills. The state is looking to design a more expansive project to improve driver safety by providing a grade-separated wildlife crossing where the animals go either over or under US 6. The goal is to reduce the number of vehicle/wildlife collisions in this section of US6. Based on input from the community, they will move forward with design of one of the alternatives. There is no funding for construction at this time, however, so there is no schedule for implementation of a modified crossing.

CDOT is looking at alternatives to the existing at-grade wildlife crossing on US6 between Heritage Road and 19th Street. CDOT has long been concerned about the number of large animal auto accidents on this stretch of US6. In 2010, they installed fencing to try to limit crossing areas and provide for a safer environment for drivers since large animal collisions cause a substantial portion of the injury accidents along the foothills. The state is looking to design a more expansive project to improve driver safety by providing a grade-separated wildlife crossing where the animals go either over or under US 6. The goal is to reduce the number of vehicle/wildlife collisions in this section of US6. Based on input from the community, they will move forward with design of one of the alternatives. There is no funding for construction at this time, however, so there is no schedule for implementation of a modified crossing.

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Where can I find a update to this project?

Hooper 4 months ago

The growth of our city and the surrounding metro area was not developed with concern for the wild species that share this space. By 1913, Elk were completely wiped out from Colorado, much like the bison. The recovery of the elk population in our state is a huge conservation success story, but the process of learning how to sustain their recovery is not over. In the past couple of years, the elk populations have been dropping again. It has been conjectured that the rapid increase of development and recreation in our state has impacted the natural patterns and behaviors of the elk, possibly causing an increase in offspring mortality. No one project or development is likely to cause these problems, but collectively, continued isolation of elk to more limited habitat and movement cannot help. I do not feign to regard the urban area we have created as critical habitat or migration corridor, as this time has long past. However, it is important to consider if small actions that maintain or improve animal movement and habitat could support a larger objective of supporting wildlife while our urban environment continues to grow. The resident elk herd in Golden ranges all the way to the opposite side of South Table Mountain and are a highlight of residents and visitors alike. They are a symbol of the “American West” and represent a part of our natural history and culture. The current animal crossing has gone a long way to help fatalities, and it would be hard to imagine creating a condition that further limits their current patterns of movement and access to resources. If you are going to widen the tunnel for animals to cross, that is great, but don’t remove the current animal crossing. If you want to support animal crossing and further reduce fatalities, then take our time and create the bridge when funding is available.

Lunajohn 4 months ago

Thank you for working to address the wildlife-vehicle collision situation at this spot in the first place, and for recognizing the importance to facilitating safe crossings and landscape movement for wildlife. Under normal circumstances, I would prefer a dedicated wildlife overpass, as overpasses are simply better for wildlife movement, more likely to be used by a wider variety of species, and would help to separate animal and human use (which usually leads to greater human safety and higher animal use). However, in this location, and with these particular elk and deer populations, which are greatly habituated to human activity and infrastructure already, it seems acceptable (and likely more cost effective) to widen and improve the multi-use underpass instead. The only risk in doing so is the speed at which bikers can enter the underpass from either direction, given the grade of the existing bike path. Perhaps a reconfiguration of the underpass would help? Either way, the bottom line is that using one of those two proven methods to address the wildlife-vehicle collision risk at this location is important and broadly supported by residents in the area.

jnpollock 5 months ago

Co-opting the existing pedestrian underpass seems like a horrible idea, given the location of that underpass. It would be trapping the animals into a far more humanized environment, and potentially cause some bad collisions, as it's right at the bottom of a steep hill, with blind curves, that is used by quite a number of cyclists. Please keep the location of the crossing where it is, and convert to either an underpass or overpass.

Ann 5 months ago

I would love to see an overpass for the wildlife like the ones on Route 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling.

wtowber 5 months ago