to reduce road kill
ITD asked to
motorists north of Hailey
Express Staff Writer
County commissioners last week took action to try to reduce incidents of
big-game road kill on Highway 75 north of Hailey.
Commissioner Sarah Michael, the panel asked Idaho Transportation
Department officials to seek state funding for a plan to install on both
sides of the highway in the Peregrine Ranch area scores of high-tech
reflectors designed to deter animals such as deer and elk from crossing
the road at night.
cow elk, killed while crossing Highway 75 near Peregrine Ranch north
of Hailey, could be seen lying just feet from the west side of the road
last weekend. Express photo by Willy Cook
Sept. 27 letter addressed to ITD District Engineer Devin Rigby, Michael
and fellow Commissioners Mary Ann Mix and Dennis Wright said they want
the agency to seek funding to install Strieter-Lite-brand reflectors in
the area. They noted that the stretch has been identified by ITD and
state Fish and Game officials as a frequent road-kill site.
commissioners said in the letter that the reflectors—which reflect
automobile headlights into numerous horizontal and vertical beams that
appear unnatural to animals—"have been proven very effective in
many states as well as British Columbia in reducing the number of
collisions between white-tail deer and moose and motorized
commissioners added they have seen some evidence the reflectors will
also be effective in deterring mule deer and elk from crossing roads at
night—the period when the majority of road-kill accidents happen.
response to a lack of state-issued signs warning motorists to
game-crossing points north of Hailey, one resident installed a homemade
sign on the east side of Highway 75 near Peregrine Ranch. Currently,
only a single ITD sign, immediately north of McKercher Boulevard, warns
northbound motorists of crossing game animals in the area. Express
photo by Willy Cook
decision to ask ITD to take action on reducing road-kill incidents in
the area came out of a meeting last Thursday between Michael, Rigby and
several concerned Wood River Valley residents and elected officials. The
group included Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer Roger Olson,
Hailey Councilwoman Martha Burke and state Sen. Clint Stennett,
group of residents from Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley told Michael they
were alarmed in recent months by an apparent spike in the number of game
animals being killed by autos and trucks between Ketchum and Hailey.
resident Candy Forstmann said she believes it typically "sickens
people" to consistently see dead animals along the highway.
showed strong support for a pilot program to test the effectiveness of
the reflectors. "What’s precluding us from stepping forward and
doing this?" she asked.
many dead deer and elk have been removed from Highway 75 in recent
months, particularly in the Peregrine Ranch area. One estimate discussed
at the meeting placed the number of elk killed in the area at six in the
said ITD workers routinely pull dead deer and elk off Highway 75, noting
that some 25 dead deer were removed from the road in the Wood River
Valley during the summer months. Estimates of deer deaths in the
Timmerman Junction area are significantly higher, he said.
Rigby and Olson said they believe the reflectors would have only limited
success on deterring mule deer and elk. Rigby said trials of the
reflectors in other parts of the state were not successful, but
acknowledged that the systems generally were not adequately maintained.
warning from Rigby that ITD would not be able to provide consistent
maintenance, Hailey resident Ike Kola volunteered to lead a committee of
concerned citizens in an effort to maintain the reflectors.
manufacturer of the reflectors, the Illinois-based Strieter Corporation,
estimates that 200 reflectors are needed per mile of highway. The system
is estimated to cost less than $300 per mile to install, and $500
annually per mile to maintain.