Elk NetworkInnovative Approach to Reduce Elk, Deer Vehicle Collisions

General | August 28, 2020

Looking to improve safety for drivers and wildlife alike, crews are installing posts with white canvas bags attached to them at 50-foot intervals on stretches of highway along the Hanford site in southern Washington. The area is teaming with large elk and deer.

According to previous studies by the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the State of Utah, when illuminated by headlights, the bags look like a danger signal to the animals by appearing to be a white-tailed deer running. Animals generally waited until the illumination disappeared before crossing the road.

“The safety of the workforce is paramount and is a fundamental part of any traffic improvement program,” said Jeff Frey, Richland Operations Office assistant manager for mission support. “We’re optimistic that what has helped reduce deer and elk strikes in Utah and Wyoming will work here at Hanford.”

In addition to the white bags, crews also installed several large signs designed to keep drivers alert and attentive. They will also install cameras along the roadways to determine the effectiveness of the effort.

The Hanford site is located just northwest of the Tri-Cities area (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco).

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(Photo source: Office of Environmental Management)