Features & Images » Feature Story

Right of Passage

Safely and efficiently moving people and wildlife on Banff’s section of the Trans-Canada Highway and beyond

by

comment

Page 5 of 6

 

PC: Within the remaining 35-km section of two-lane highway in the park, a nine kilometre segment is now being upgraded to four lanes with completion expected in fall 2008.   Further twinning will occur as funding is obtained.

 

Pique: Any additional information people should know?

 

PC: Ungulate vehicle collisions have dropped from an annual average of over 100 per year to less than half dozen today between Castle Junction and the park’s east gate. Approximately 65 per cent of all accidents (outside the park) involve wildlife while in Banff National Park it is 13 per cent (slightly more than one in 10).

Highway mitigation for wildlife may appear to be costly to motoring public and taxpayers, but with average elk-vehicle collision costs being over $10,000, recent studies have shown these measures pay for themselves in several years.

 

Back on the Sea to Sky corridor where several wildlife crossings incorporated into the current highway upgrades will help reduce wildlife collisions. Four underpasses are to be put in south of Whistler in the Pinecrest area and one is already in place near the Horseshoe Bay area. The highway will also include several small-scale culverts to accommodate smaller critters crossing needs as well.  

 

TONY CLEVENGER has been an independent researcher contracted by Parks Canada since 1996 to carry out long-term research assessing the performance of mitigation measures designed to reduce habitat fragmentation on the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. In September 2002, he began working for the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University, while continuing his research in Banff and the Mountain Parks. In 2005, Tony garnered support from Parks Canada, Montana State University, and three large North American conservation foundations to partner in funding his long-term research until 2008.

Tony is currently a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee on Effects of Highways on Natural Communities and Ecosystems. Since 1986, he has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has co-authored three books including, Road Ecology: Science and Solutions (Island Press, 2003). During the last 9 years in Banff his research has resulted in 17 peer-reviewed publications.