New signs on Idaho 21 remind motorists of wildlife encounters
Idaho's first wildlife/vehicle collision "tally signs" were installed along Idaho 21 between Lucky Peak Reservoir and Robie Creek at mileposts 10 and 21 this week to encourage motorists to slow down and attempt to avoid vehicle/wildlife collisions.
The tally signs - featuring the message "Give Deer & Elk a Brake" - will be updated regularly to inform the public about the number of known vehicle-wildlife collisions to date each year on that stretch of roadway.
They are part of ITD’s commitment to improving safe travel and minimize the number of wildlife-related crashes. Last year, ITD unveiled an innovative animal detection and warning system on U.S. 95 north of Moscow as part of a construction project. A warning signal for motorists is activated when wildlife pass through a laser beam along the highway shoulder. It is the first such system in Idaho.
ITD also joined with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to create a Web site that enables motorists to report where and when they encounter wildlife near a highway. The Web site uses Google Map technology to show wildlife corridors, a description of the types of wildlife that can be expected and the number of reported incidents.
Wildlife tunnels under highways and wildlife fences also have been introduced to minimize crashes.
Installation of new tally signs along Idaho 21 is the result of a two-year collaborative effort by ITD, IDFG, the city of Boise, Ada and Boise counties, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and members of the public to improve safety.
"By installing the tally signs we hope that motorists will be reminded of the danger every time they pass it," said IDFG Conservation Officer Marshall Haynes.
Every year wildlife migrate to and from their summer range in the high country to their winter range on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and in the Boise foothills. And each year, between the intersections of Warm Springs Avenue and Robie Creek along Idaho 21, 75-100 collisions occur with mule deer, and 5-10 collisions are reported with elk.
"On average, it costs the public about $8,000 for each deer/vehicle collision and $18,500 for each elk/vehicle collision,” said ITD highway engineer Greg Vitley.
The high number of wildlife/vehicle collisions on that stretch of roadway costs the public an estimated $750,000 to $1 million annually in insurance claims, deductible pay-outs, medical expenses, disability leave, lost wildlife resources and the disposal of animals hit by vehicles.