Friday, November 2, 2012

ITD looking at wildlife conflicts on highway

Agency considering changes in nighttime speed limit

Express Staff Writer

The high number of vehicle-versus-wildlife accidents on state Highway 75 in the Wood River Valley has caught the attention of the Idaho Transportation Department.

“We’re talking about speed limits right now,” Devin Rigby, district engineer for ITD District 4 in Shoshone, said at a meeting of the Blaine County Regional Transportation Committee on Thursday. Rigby explained that ITD, the agency that regulates highway speed limits, has been working with Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey to help mitigate the high number of vehicle collisions with elk and deer.

Rigby said other options are being considered, such as sensing devices that could activate warnings to drivers when deer and elk are in the vicinity of the roadway. However, he said an elk or deer migration underpass, such as has been used elsewhere to reduce collisions with wildlife, is not a likely solution for the Wood River Valley.

Rigby explained that the two main problem areas on the highway with elk conflicts are in the Peregrine Ranch area north of Hailey and in the vicinity of East Fork Road. Both areas have “resident herds,” he said, who stay in the basic area throughout the year. He said wildlife underpasses, where large fences and channeling barriers have to be constructed to guide animals to a crossing, are typically only successful with migrating herds.

Ramsey, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said he is currently favoring lighted speed limit signs that could be placed in high-conflict areas and are triggered by sensors when large animals are near the roadway. The signs would temporary advise drivers of a lower speed limit as long as the sensors were activated.

The wildlife discussion occurred during the meeting when committee members were talking about establishing priorities for various funding requests to ITD for the upcoming year. Committee members agreed to add a wildlife accident mitigation option to the list of funding priorities.

Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who chairs the committee, explained that the county, local municipalities and organizations such as Mountain Rides Transportation Authority, which all rely on ITD for funding grants, have been working together for about the past year in a collaborative effort to make grant applications.

“We’re prioritizing as a group of communities rather than working separately,” McCleary said.

Entities represented on the committee recently submitted their individual funding priorities for ITD grants and will next vote on overall priorities to be determined by the committee.

McCleary said she hopes a final list of priorities can be compiled within the next week.

Terry Smith:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.