Idaho BHA is excited to see construction begin on the wildlife overpass across State Highway 21 near Lucky Peak. This project is a win for wildlife in Idaho, especially along a critical corridor for elk, deer, pronghorn, and black bears. In addition to helping wildlife, it will reduce vehicle collisions for Idaho drivers.
In 2016, Idaho Fish and Game documented the removal of 77 deer and elk carcasses on State Highway 21 between mileposts 10 and 22. Over the next 20 years, traffic increases are expected on State Highway 21, potentially increasing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions. In addition to negatively impacting the deer, elk, pronghorn, and black bear , the high number of collisions on State Highway 21 has cost Idahoans an estimated $3,000,000 in damages over a 30-year period from the 1970s to the 2010s.
In 2017, the Forest Service and Idaho Transportation Department jointly endorsed a Federal Lands Access Proposal (FLAP) to install a 150-foot wildlife overpass at milepost 19.32 of State Highway 21. In addition to the overpass, the request outlined the need for approximately 12,500 linear feet of 8-foot-high fence, which would parallel State Highway 21. The project aims to reduce the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions by 80 percent. Project construction began in the spring of 2023, and the current estimated completion time of the project is in October 2023.
As previously mentioned, a FLAP was submitted and endorsed to help fund the project. The FLAP provides funding to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within Federal lands. The FLAP receives funding from the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded through Federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. However, the FLAP does not cover all costs of the project. The program requires a 7.34% local match. For the SH-21 Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass project, local funds came from the Idaho Transportation Department, the United States Forest Service – Boise National Forest, Idaho Fish and Game (through Pittman-Robertson Funds), and several non-governmental organizations.
Throughout the western United States, the construction of wildlife corridors has successfully reduced the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions, helping to safeguard animals along their migration corridors and minimizing negative impacts to motorists. Idaho BHA recognizes the importance of lowering wildlife and motor vehicle-related conflict and supports the SH-21 Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass construction project.