An $8.6 million grant is awarded to build a wildlife overpass in Montana, enhancing road safety.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have secured a significant grant. They received $8.6 million for a wildlife overpass. This overpass will be across U.S. Highway 93 in Montana. It's near the site of a grizzly bear's fatal accident three years ago.
The grant is part of a larger funding initiative. Around $110 million is allocated for 19 wildlife projects nationwide. This is under the Federal Highway Administration’s Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program. The Tribes' project is a crucial addition to ongoing efforts. It aims to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions along Highway 93, from Evaro to Polson. This was reported by the Flathead Beacon.
The problem of wildlife collisions is not isolated. Maintenance crews and tribal officers annually collect over 6,000 wildlife carcasses from Montana's state roadways.
The Tribes have a history of proactive measures. They've collaborated with state and federal highway agencies. Their joint efforts include constructing wildlife crossing structures along the highway. One notable example is the “Animals’ Trail.” This 197-foot-wide vegetated bridge crosses the highway near a casino. It's located at the south end of the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Shailen Bhatt of the Federal Highway Administration commented on the funding. He said these projects will significantly reduce collisions between motorists and wildlife.
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