Collisions between vehicles and wildlife up 20 percent in California

Driving by roadkill is never a pretty sight. And in California, it's not only sad, but costly. 

Collisions between vehicles and wildlife cost the state $276 million in 2016, according to report from the UC Davis Road Ecology Center. That's up 20 percent from the previous year.

Researchers used data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Roadkill Observation System (CROS) to map stretches from California highways which are hotspots for animal collisions. The report notes the study only covers data provided by the CHP and CROS and not all collisions with animals in the state.

The study calculated the cost per mile for every wildlife-vehicle collision and estimated a return investment for installing fencing around hotspots to reduce collisions. For example, the research team found that for Interstate 280 in the Bay Area, the worst road for animal collisions in 2016, fencing would pay for itself in less than a year after reduced collisions.

“We’re seeing an increase in the rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions, and we’re not seeing an increase in our attempt to mitigate the problem,” said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center in a news statement. “But this is definitely a problem we can solve. We have the resources and know-how to build solutions that can protect wildlife and drivers.”

Highway 50 in western El Dorado County made the list of worst roads for animal collision, although it ranked on the bottom of the list.

Here is a list of the top 10 worst roads in California for animal collisions, according to the study:

  1. Interstate 280, with 386 collisions over 23 miles. The cost per mile from wildlife-vehicle collisions along this highway is $874,520. The cost of fencing to protect wildlife could pay for itself in about half a year.  
  2. U.S. Highway 101 in Marin County, with 225 collisions over 28 miles. Cost per mile is $525,009, with fencing paying for itself in less than a year.   
  3. State Route 13, with 81 collisions over 6.5 miles. Cost per mile is $307,218, with fencing paying for itself in a little over a year.
  4. State Route 24, with 114 collisions over 11 miles. Cost per mile is $233,567, with fencing paying for itself within less than two years.
  5. State Route 174, with 75 collisions over 11 miles. Cost per mile is $216,521, with fencing paying for itself within less than two years.
  6. Interstate 680, with 221 collisions over 72 miles. Cost per mile is $193,762, with fencing paying for itself within about two years.
  7. State Route 9, with 119 collisions over 20 miles. Cost per mile is $151,995, with fencing paying for itself within about 2.5 years.
  8. State Route 2 with 33 collisions over 6 miles. Cost per mile is $144,731, with fencing paying for itself within three years.
  9. U.S. Highway 101 at the west end of the San Fernando Valley, with 13 collisions over 26 miles. Cost per mile is $137,735, with fencing paying for itself within three years.
  10. U.S. Highway 50 in western El Dorado County with 245 collisions over 54 miles. Cost per mile is $118,692, with fencing paying for itself within 3.5 years.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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