Bighorn sheep above One Mile Hill in Radium. (Photo by Pat Morrow)

Bighorn sheep above One Mile Hill in Radium. (Photo by Pat Morrow)

MOTI project to install wildlife exclusion fencing along Hwy. 3 to begin this summer

The project will have six phases and see a total of 54 km of fencing installed

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) is launching a wildlife fencing project that will begin near Sparwood.

The project will see the construction of wildlife exclusion fencing done in phases to guide animals to safe crossing locations under existing bridge infrastructure to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, reads a statement from MOTI.

“This work is part of the Ministry of Transportation’s efforts to improve habitat connection and safe wildlife accesses across highway corridors.”

The fencing will be along Hwy. 3 east of Sparwood to the Alberta border.

According to a ministry spokesperson, that stretch of highway is home to four of the top eight locations involving collisions with large wildlife (elk, deer, moose, bears) in B.C.

Phase one of the project will see about four kilometres of fencing installed between Loop Bridge and Carbon Bridge, the ministry statement says. A total of 54 km of fencing is planned to be installed by the end of the six-phase project.

“Most of the fencing will be placed on ministry right of way. Where necessary, the ministry will approach adjacent property owners for an agreement that allows us to either place the fence on their property or acquire that property.”

Phase one was planned to go to bid within days of May 30, with work scheduled to begin this summer. Future phases are now in the design stage.

Speaking to wildlife-vehicle collisions, the spokesperson said: “Over the last ten years, 282 animal have been recorded struck in the project area. Animals struck were elk, deer, moose, bears, and to a lesser degree sheep and badgers.

“This project is expected to reduce the number of wildlife vehicle collisions when it is completed.”

No road closures or major traffic impacts are expected from the project, though there may be times when the highway is reduced to single lane alternating traffic.

More information on the project is planned to be released by the ministry soon.

READ MORE: Data being gathered on wildlife underpass on Hwy. 3 near Jaffray

READ MORE: Investigation: Which stretch of B.C. Highway 3 sees the most wildlife collisions?

READ MORE: New infographic summarizes wildlife collisions in the Elk Valley


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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