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King County to Construct Wildlife Overpass Across Novelty Hill Road

An open house on the project will be held Thursday at Redmond Ridge Community Center.

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.

Chalen Maarten May 05, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Six known deer collisions in 12 years. If 70 percent unreported, assume 21 deer collisions, or just under two per year. This is a very long corridor, so generously assume one in four of them would have used the overpass and been saved. This project saves one deer every two years. For $6 million. This doesn't seem defensible. Surely other projects to protect wildlife, or to protect drivers, could have dramatically better cost-benefit ratios.
Chalen Maarten May 05, 2012 at 05:43 AM
For example, with this much money, the County could hire five full-time wildlife biologists, in perpetuity. Or they could build at least a dozen new roundabouts, which would eliminate FAR more collisions and injuries. Maybe you can't fault King County for lining up at the trough, but this system of funding projects is severely broken, and results in some unfortunate decisions.
B D May 08, 2012 at 05:29 PM
For those complaining about the tax dollars, this is largely funded through grants and awards. According to another article, King county will be paying only $300k. This type of overpass has been working well in Canada, Wyoming, Nevada, and across Europe. It's certainly worth a shot here. Keep in mind that Novelty Hill Road used to be a lonely, dark stretch of road with little to no development. Now it has become another suburb with a slight touch of rural. If you drive on Novelty Hill Road or you live in this area, do your part and stop complaining. I live in the Redmond Ridge area and I welcome this overpass. It will be interesting to see how well it does. Absolute worst case scenario: It doesn't work at all and they convert it to a nice pedestrian overpass to replace that crosswalk less than a block away. Either way, it will be used.
Tom July 08, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Another waste of money. Even if a grant, the grant was a tax collected. Put two signs that drop the mph to 25 for a stretch; $150 and problem, if you can call it a problem, solved. Take the other 6 million and put it towards the debt. Or cheaper, deny 6 hunting liscense. Someone's got a hand in the right pocket.
kevin Wilson April 25, 2013 at 05:52 AM
This shows how stupid people in control of our money are. Even if it is grant money its a f@%$@ng waist of money that could of been used to fix the road on the hill going down to the valley. SPEND OUR TAX/GRANT MONEY ON SOMETHING THAT IS NEEDED LIKE THE ROADS! !!!

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