U.S. 160 wildlife crossings project to resume next month

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Colorado Department of Transportation

Construction of wildlife infrastructure will resume this spring on U.S. 160 and Colo. 151 near Chimney Rock National Monument and Lake Capote. 

Efforts to construct two wildlife crossings (underpass and overpass) began last March, spanning a stretch of highway within a critical migratory corridor for both mule deer and elk — approximately 13 miles west of Pagosa Springs. 

When work resumes the first of April, crews will focus on the wildlife overpass. The overpass precast concrete forms were set over the highway last fall. Work to complete the structure includes building concrete sidewalls, backfilling the sidewalls and slopes for animal access, and seeding the natural landscaping on the bridge.

“Wildlife-vehicle collisions make up more than 60 percent of crashes in this area. This $11.3 [million] project is expected to reduce those collisions by at least 80 percent,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Julie Constan. “And we are already seeing benefits. Our project and environmental teams are very excited to discover that trail cameras have captured small animals and big game, including deer and elk, using the underpass structure completed last fall.” 

All aspects of the wildlife underpass were completed before the winter break. Additionally, an 8-foot-tall exclusion fence was installed on both sides of the highway. At the intersection of Colo. 151, a deer guard was placed and turn lanes were improved. Also, within the construction zone, the road was widened to extend passing lanes and U.S. 160 was repaved.

Travel impacts 

Daytime work hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fifteen-minute delays are expected. Speeds will be reduced to 30 mph in the work zone. The work is anticipated to go through the month of June, weather permitting. 

Stay informed about
this project 

The public is encouraged to sign up for email updates or access information through the following resources: 

• Project hotline: (970) 903-4004. 

• Project email: PublicInfoCO@gmail.com. 

• Website: www.codot.gov/projects/us160-wildlife-crossing.

Remember: Slow
For the Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones:

• Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.

• Stay alert. Expect the unexpected.

• Watch for workers. Drive with caution.

• Don’t change lanes unnecessarily.

• Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.

• Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.

• Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

• Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.

• Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.

• Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.

• Be patient.