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Field Trip Highlights

Field Trip Highlights
The following are brief descriptions and photos of the crossing structures viewed during the field trip. For more information on the wildlife crossing structures and other mitigation measures implemented along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, please refer to the Parks Canada Highway Service Center Web Page.

Wolverine Overpass
Wolverine Overpass
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The wolverine overpass (WOP) has been in place since 1997 and cost more than $1.75 million (Canadian) to construct. The structure is 50m wide and 72m long. It is an undivided, concrete structure with 1.8m high earth berms and vegetation. Infrared cameras and track beds are used to continually monitor wildlife crossings. To date, more than 1,600 crossings have been documented on the overpass, which is used predominantly by deer and elk, but also frequently by grizzly bears, wolves, cougars, and black bears. Large carnivore use on the overpass has increased each year, indicating that there is a learning curve (steeper for carnivores than ungulates) and that all wildlife eventually adapt and incorporate such structures into their movements.

See video clips (requires RealOne Player):

  • Drs. Bruce Leeson and Tony Clevenger on brush used on landscape (1:31 min)
  • Dr. Leeson on use of earth berms on overpass (2:37 min)
  • Dr. Leeson on weed control (40 sec)
  • Mr. Terry McGuire, P.Eng., on costs and engineering aspects (1:16 min)
  • Mr. Terry McGuire, P.Eng., on placement of overpass (2:47 min)

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

  • Wolverine Underpass (Corrugated Steel Culvert)
    Wolverine Underpass - Steel Culvert
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    Also constructed in 1997 for $180,000 (Canadian), the wolverine underpass is a 4x7m elliptical culvert made of prefabricated corrugated steel, with added base fill. Fencing is brought right up to the culvert entrance on both sides. Track beds are the means by which wildlife crossings are monitored. More than 375 have been tracked to date, consisting primarily of deer, elk, coyotes, and cougars. A 25m span prevents icing problems during the winter.

    See video clips (requires RealOne Player):

  • Animal tracks (22 sec)
  • Track bed (13 sec)

    More photos:
    [1] [2]

  • Electrified Fencing and Texas Gate at Lake Louise
    Electrified Fence and Texas Gate
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    Electrified fencing was used in the Lake Louise ski area to control a grizzly bear problem in this high-traffic tourist site. The electrified fencing was combined with Texas gates to slow traffic and to keep bear and ungulates (e.g., deer, elk) off the pavement. While this was not part of the Trans-Canada Phase 3A mitigation plan, it offers an example of additional wildlife mitigation techniques that are effectively reducing animal-vehicle collisions, as well as animal-human encounters, within tourist areas.

    See video clips (requires RealOne Player):

  • Dr. Leeson on the need for electrified fencing (1:16 min)
  • Dr. Leeson on the need for Texas gates (3:12 min)
  • Texas gate w/electrified fence (24 sec)
  • Sidebar discussion: Dr. Leeson on wildlife and railway issues (3:49 min)

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

  • Redearth Creek Bridge Underpass
    Redearth Creek Bridge Underpass
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    The Redearth Creek concrete bridge underpass, a crossing structure used primarily by deer and elk, was enhanced with the addition of a $20,000 (Canadian) dirt footpath beside the creek waters to encourage crossings by large carnivores and small- to medium-sized animals. More than 500 crossings have been tracked along this structure, which is approximately 11m wide by 2m high and 56m long. The underpass is also checked for fisheries concerns to ensure that the creek maintains an appropriate width and steady water flow.

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

    Redearth Creek Underpass (Box Culvert)
    Redearth Creek Box Culvert
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    The Redearth Creek box culvert underpass is a 3x2m concrete structure that is 78m long. It is used primarily by black bears, coyotes, and cougars, as well as ungulates. More than 380 crossings have been documented through use of track beds. The structure cost approximately $180,000 (Canadian) to construct.

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4]

    Healy Open Span Bridge Underpass
    Healy Open Span Bridge Underpass
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    The Healy bridge underpass is located far from the Canadian Pacific Railway, has little human activity, lots of creek drainage, and is, therefore, used more than any other crossing structure in Banff National Park. The 9x2m concrete structure, which is 40m long, was constructed for ~$750,000 (Canadian) during Phases 1&2 of the Trans-Canada Highway twinning project. Track beds have been used to document more than 3,900 wildlife crossings by primarily ungulates as well as abundant use by wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, and cougars.

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4]

    Escape Ramp
    Escape Ramp
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    Escape ramps are constructed to allow ungulates and other animals inadvertently trapped on the highway a means of escape into safer terrain. This ramp was constructed in 1999 in Canmore (Alberta) along the Trans-Canada Highway. It has an 8ft drop and has proven extremely effective. Animal use is monitored by track beds.

    More photos:
    [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

       
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