BEND, Ore. (AP) — A groundswell of public and private support for a wildlife tunnel south of Bend has generated more than half of what is needed for a $929,000 fencing project meant for mule deer and elk along a migration route.
The Bulletin reports more than $500,000 has been raised for the fencing, which will funnel animals toward a crossing underneath a 5-mile (8 kilometers) stretch of U.S. Highway 97. The project is set to begin in 2020.
Oregon Department of Transportation wildlife passage coordinator Cidney Bowman says the agency is planning to spend $800,000 to build the tunnel, located just north of Gilchrist.
Wildlife crossings built underneath and sometimes above highways allow animals to follow natural migration patterns.
On average, two people die per year and over 700 are injured in Oregon due to animal-vehicle collisions.