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VDOT Installs Fences Along I-64, Sees Reduction in Crashes Involving Wildlife

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The number of crashes involving deer has fallen to zero The number of crashes involving deer has fallen to zero
Crews installing fences along the Mechums River Bridge Crews installing fences along the Mechums River Bridge
The 8-foot fence near the Ivy exit on I-64 The 8-foot fence near the Ivy exit on I-64
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A fence lining a mile-long stretch of Interstate 64 in Albemarle County is dramatically reducing crashes involving wildlife.

The Virginia Department of Transportation installed the fence in Ivy as the first test site in the commonwealth for this safety system.

The Virginia Transportation Research Council is studying the wildlife fencing. By this time in 2016, there were about eight crashes involving deer on Interstate 64 near Ivy. That number has dropped to zero since the fencing went up.

The mile of 8-foot high fencing lines both sides of Interstate 64 near the Ivy exit. It guides large wildlife, like deer and bears, to a box culvert beneath the roadway. Cameras placed along the fence show deer coming up to it, and turning back to find another way around instead of crossing traffic on the interstate.

Researchers say this system is cutting down on crashes at a cost of about $300,000 for each stretch of fencing.

“The beauty of this is we're using existing infrastructure and just improving it. So, we're using existing underpasses that are used by large animals like deer and then adding fencing to them. We're finding it's effective. We can easily identify other locations like large culverts or bridges over rivers that we can do similar cheap measures to,” says Bridget Donaldson, VTRC senior research specialist.

Now, crews are putting up another fence to funnel animals under the Mechums River Bridge near the Crozet exit.

Researchers will study wildlife crashes in these fenced areas for another year before coming out with a final report about whether VDOT should install more fences statewide.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is also testing a warning system to alert drivers to deer on Interstate 64.