New wildlife crossings and fencing between Blanding and Monticello

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) will add three new wildlife passages under US-191 south of Monticello and fill in a wildlife fencing gap this summer.
When completed, the wildlife fencing will fill the gap, extending the fence from just south of Monticello to south of Devils Canyon on US-191.
The project, currently in the bidding phase, is valued at more than $3 million. It is phase two of an effort to help reduce wildlife vehicle collisions in an area identified for migratory conflicts with motorized vehicles.
Wildlife fencing was installed and a crossing constructed in 2016, with a combination of federal safety and enhancement funds totaling just over $1 million.
The second phase of the project will place wildlife underpasses near mileposts 64, 65, and 67.  Fencing will be extended on both sides of the roadway between mileposts 62 and 66.
An agreement with San Juan County will provide for the construction of three cattle guards in association with the new fencing.
Project Manager Sam Grimshaw said he hopes the project will be the final step in making the notoriously dangerous stretch of highway much safer for motorists.
UDOT Region 4 Communications Manager Kevin Kitchen added, “For [the area], it’s fantastic because there are not a lot of areas in the state that get that kind of attention on wildlife.”
He said UDOT works closely with the Division of Wildlife Resources to ensure they understand wildlife migration patterns. “Typically, we try to pinpoint the major migrations that wildlife are ‘pre-programmed’ to use,” he explained.
Kitchen said that in order to determine high-need areas, UDOT keeps crash statistics and records of carcass pickups.
He added, “We have some of the most innovative folks within our region office down in southern Utah who have led the march in the state when it comes to wildlife crossing and wildlife mitigation.”
If bids are favorable, the project is expected to begin no later than July 8 and be complete by the end of the year.
In order to maintain traffic flow, short stretches of bypass road will be constructed near the new wildlife crossings and speeds will be reduced to accommodate the change in road geometry.
Delays of up to 20 minutes may be possible when passing through the entire project. Fence installation is not anticipated to have an effect on travel.
Once construction begins, inquiries related to the project may be emailed to udotregion4@utah.gov.

San Juan Record

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Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
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