Voter-approved State Route 77 wildlife crossings reach milestone

Jan. 15, 2020 - Arizona Game and Fish (AZGF) biologists knew wildlife crossings on State Route 77 (Oracle Road) would work, but they didn't know they would be this successful. Monitoring stations on the overpass and underpass have documented more than 10,000 animal crossings since the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority projects were completed in 2016.

The crossings not only improve safety for drivers along the corridor, they help ensure the survival of wildlife species. AZGF biologist Jeff Gagnon says the wildlife bridge and underpass allow for critical wildlife movement between the Santa Catalina and Tortolita Mountains. "The animals moved across the landscape long before we were here, and when highways came in they didn't have a way to cross anymore. The wildlife crossings provide connectivity for them to get across the road and be able to make their daily and seasonal migration."

Video: Wildlife crossings

AZGF, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and volunteers closely monitor wildlife use of the passage structures. Gagnon says key to the success of the overpass and underpass is the fencing that is in place along the right-of-way that funnels animals to the crossings.

Studies to determine whether the wildlife fencing and crossings reduce the number of wildlife/vehicle encounters on State Route 77 will be conducted when all of the fencing is in place.

Pima County voters approved the wildlife crossings in 2006 as part of the RTA plan.

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