Bobcats, deer, bears, coyotes and other animals will soon have a safer route across Northeast Novelty Hill Road thanks to a new wildlife overpass King County will begin building later this year.
The county will hold an open house on the project from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at the Redmond Ridge Community Center, 10315 Cedar Park Crescent NE.
The 40-foot-wide, 120-foot-long structure will be located between Redmond Ridge Drive and 234th Place Northeast—an area that is adjacent to the and near the county's Wildlife Habitat Network, a collection of 457 contiguous miles of protected habitat that is used by more than 175 animal species, according to the county.
Rochelle Ogershok, a spokesperson for the King County Department of Transportation, said wildlife jump between patches of undeveloped land in the county to get around.
“This is sort of like a network that wildlife navigates through,” she said. “By providing that passage, there’s less of a conflict with them crossing the road.”
The county reports there have been six deer collisions in the vicinity of the project since 1999, but Ogershok said it's likely many more incidents have gone unreported.
Statewide, she said, there are more than 1,100 animal vehicle collisions reported each year, accounting for 1,200 human injuries and two fatalities. Officials estimate up to 71 percent of animal/vehicle collisions go unreported in the state, Ogershok said.
The new Novelty Hill Road wildlife crossing will be primarily funded through a $500,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and a $5.3-million award from the Transportation Enhancement Program. Construction is expected to begin in late 2012 and last for approximately one year.
Ogershok said officials are not expecting any major disruptions to traffic in the area during construction.
More information is also available on the county's website.