Pinedale Online!

Pinedale on the Web!
Pinedale, Wyoming

Home | Calendar of Events | Photo Gallery | Local Businesses |

Pinedale Online > News > October 2011 > Wildlife Connectivity road projects continue

Wildlife Underpass. Photo by Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Wildlife Underpass
Wildlife underpass near Trapper's Point on US 191, between Pinedale and Daniel Junction.

Wildlife pass through. Photo by Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Wildlife pass through
Wyoming Department of Transportation is installing a series of wildlife underpasses and overpasses on US 191 between Pinedale and Bondurant.

Over-Underpass Map. Photo by Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Over-Underpass Map
WYDOT map, with color added by Pinedale Online.

Editor's Note: Pinedale Online has added more photos to this story to show additional angles of the construction for this wildlife improvement project. Costs for the project are: Two Overpasses: $5 million; Six Underpasses: $3.6 million; One Fence: $1 million. Total: $9.6 million. Photos below were taken October 3, 2011 by Pinedale Online!
Scroll down for more photos

Wildlife Connectivity road projects continue
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
October 19, 2011

Work on the WYDOT’s "wildlife connectivity" project on US 189/US 191 in Sublette County, continues to progress, and Pete Hallsten, the agency’s resident engineer in charge of the project, reports that six new underpasses for wildlife should be ready for use by early November.

Meanwhile, work is also ongoing to construct special overpasses for wildlife at two other sites and to install special wildlife fencing along most of the 12-mile-long project corridor.

Hallsten, who is based in Pinedale, advises that as winter approaches, the pace of work will slow -- but not stop -- and travelers should expect continued traffic restrictions even after the snow flies.

He adds it’s also important to remember that because work will continue well into 2012 (as was planned), there will still be plenty of opportunity for game animals to be on or along the highway, and drivers should remain vigilant as they pass through the project area.

Three of the underpasses are located within a 2.5-mile stretch of US 191 in the vicinity of Trappers Point between Pinedale and Daniel Jct. The other three underpasses are grouped within a 1.25 mile section US 189-191 north of Daniel Jct.

One overpass will be located close to Trappers Point, near the junction with WYO 352 (Cora Road). The other overpass will be located about two miles north of Daniel Jct. at what’s referred to locally as Boroff Hill.

The special fencing is being installed or upgraded along the length of the project between reference markers 103 and 115. However, because the overpasses are yet to be completed, openings are being intentionally left in the fence for the short term, mainly to facilitate antelope movements near Daniel, Trappers Point and Boroff Hill.

During the upcoming weeks, speed limits at the six new underpass sites will still be reduced to 30 mph, in the interest of safety for both travelers and construction workers who are finishing guardrail installation and other tasks.

Hallsten said that the focus of work will be shifting to the Boroff Hill overpass, weather permitting, with the goal of having the structure and associated fencing completed prior to when the pace of wildlife migration picks up next spring. Crews may also be present at the Trappers Point overpass, again depending on weather.

Both overpasses will be constructed as large arch culverts, composed of several dozen sections of quarter-round, precast concrete sections, placed side-by-side on each side of the road. Substantial amounts of fill material will be placed over the top and down the sides to complete the process.

Placement of the concrete arch sections is scheduled to begin at Boroff Hill during the first week of November. Due to the nature of the task, traffic will be stopped periodically, with delays as long as 20 minutes during daylight hours. Hallsten estimates crews will need seven to 10 days of dry weather to place the arch sections. During that time, travelers should use an alternate route if feasible.

The wildlife overpasses are a new concept – at least for Wyoming. Experience shows that while deer, elk and even moose will readily learn to use an underpass, antelope are extremely reluctant to do so. The overpasses are intended to solve the problem of getting antelope safely across the roadway. Their 150-foot width is sufficient to place earthen berms along both sides to block the view of the highway underneath, and their surfaces will be landscaped with native grasses and shrubs to help blend in with the surroundings.

Improved safety for motorists and animals is not the only goal of the project. The Trappers Point area is well documented as a major wildlife migration route, but increasing traffic on US 189/US 191, along with ongoing development in the region, have served to disrupt migration. The project will serve to reverse this trend and help restore diversity, health, and genetic vitality of the various big game species.

Related Links
  • Trappers Point underpass & overpass location map
  • South Pinedale area underpass & overpass location map
  • U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Admission 2011 Exemplorary Ecosystem Initiatives award to WYDOT - Award to the Wyoming Department of Transportation for Trapper's Point wildlife connectivity project
  • 2003 Pinedale OFFline

  • Antelope. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Construction is taking place during the fall when antelope (pronghorn) are moving back down the valley. Construction workers have left openings in the fenceline to allow these animals to pass through this season and get to lower fences they can crawl through, but that keep cattle contained. Pinedale Online photo.

    Wildlife escape ramp. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Wildlife escape ramp
    In the event an animal somehow gets inside the road right of way, there are a series of these escape ramps. Animals can go up the ramps and jump to the other side of the fence, but they cannot get in from the opposite side. Pinedale Online photo.

    Overpass view. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Overpass view
    Pulled back view of the location of the underpass closest to Pinedale, near the Duck Creek turnoff on US 191. Pinedale Online photo.

    New fence. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    New fence
    The old cattle fence is being replaced with a very tall new fence that cannot be jumped and has wire mesh to keep big game animals and cattle from passing through it. Pinedale Online photo.

    Double cattle guard. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Double cattle guard
    Where roads pass through the wildlife barrier fence, WYDOT has installed double cattle guards. Pinedale Online photo.

    Overpass location view. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Overpass location view
    The antelope (pronghorn) overpass will be built to connect the two highpoints on either side of the road ahead in this photo. Animals will be able to walk over the highway without realizing they are really on a man-made bridge. Antelope do not like to use underpasses. Deer and moose will use underpasses, but it is not known if they will use the overpasses, or have a preference for either of the new pass-through methods. Pinedale Online photo.

    Trappers Point Underpass. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Trappers Point Underpass
    View of the landscape around the Trappers Point underpass on US 191. Pinedale Online photo.

    Highway view. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Highway view
    View of highway surface over one of the wildlife underpasses near the 7 Mile River Ranch west of Trappers Point on US 191. Pinedale Online photo.

    Drift cattle. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Drift cattle
    Planning for the new wildlife under and over passes has had to consider the movement for the cattle that are part of the Green River Drift, which also move back and forth across the highway each spring and fall as part of permitted grazing allotments. Pinedale Online photo.
    Pinedale Online > News > October 2011 > Wildlife Connectivity road projects continue

    Pinedale Online!
    Pinedale Online! PO Box 2250, Pinedale, WY 82941
    Phone: (307) 360-7689 or (307) 276-5699, Fax: (307) 276-5414

    Office Outlet in Pinedale, 43 S. Sublette

    Copyright © 2011 Pinedale Online. All rights reserved.
    Pictures and content cannot be used in whole or part without permission.