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Architects receive funds to create wildlife-safe highway crossing

The landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates was recently named the winner of a contest seeking experts who could design an animal-friendly highway crossing on Interstate 70 in Colorado, according to the New York Times.

The nonprofit company will receive $40,000 to make the bridge a reality. Currently there is no crossing for the wildlife creatures, such as black bears, cougars, bobcats and elk, who are often killed in collisions with automobiles. Some crashes involve the Canada lynx, an endangered animal. The stretch of highway is particularly high in both animal and human traffic due to nearby ski resorts and a large forested area.

The bridge will consist of several strips of natural architecture modeled after meadows and forests. Hopefully animals will be encouraged to cross over the highway using these strips, rather than chancing a run across the pavement.

"As you fragment the habitat, the long-term prognosis for wildlife is bad," Rob Ament, project manager for the group who sponsored the competition, told the news source.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, insurance claims for animal-related collisions are highest in November, when many deer are searching for mates and are therefore more active. 
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