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Wildlife Detection Systems, Highway 3, British Columbia


Highway 3 is the most southern trans‐provincial highway in British Columbia. It is a key
national transportation link for trade, industry and tourism between the Pacific Ocean and
the rest of Canada. Along the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Highway 3 transects
critical wildlife habitat corridors that run between Canada and the United States (Figure 1).
Many iconic North American ungulates and carnivores use these corridors to survive.
Traffic on Highway 3 represents a serious impediment to the safe movement across the
highway for many species of wildlife. Concurrently, the larger wildlife represent a
significant potential hazard for drivers (Figure 2).
As part of the 2015 Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review conducted by the British
Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BCMoTI), the Highway 3 corridor,
between Cranbrook and the Alberta border, was identified as having one of the highest
densities of wildlife‐vehicle collisions in the province. Presently, the mountainous terrain
and extensively fragmented land tenure preclude the construction of wildlife exclusion
systems along this corridor. To test alternative technological solutions, to protect both
wildlife and drivers, BCMoTI developed specifications for a wildlife detection system
(WDS) (Figures 3 and 4) and installed two systems on Highway 3, one near Elko and the
other near Sparwood (Figure 5). Despite numerous technological, environmental and
operational challenges, the project was delivered on budget and on time. Since going live in
2016, the systems have proven to reduce wildlife‐vehicle collisions while maintaining
critical wildlife habitat connectivity.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
2017 Environmental Achievement Award Nominations
Sielecki, L.
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation