The ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition (ARC) has brought together landscape architects, engineers, and ecologists to create a proposed wildlife crossing structure in Colorado. The competition summary stated the following:
This competition sought specifically from its entries, innovation in feasible, buildable context-sensitive and compelling design solutions for safe, efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically responsive wildlife crossings. In doing so, the competition has raised international awareness of a need to better reconcile the construction and maintenance of road networks with wildlife movement.
Five finalists were selected from an international pool of applicants, with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in collaboration with HNTB selected as the winning entry. The site is located along I-70 in Colorado’s Vail Pass – an area deemed to be of ecological importance but also high traffic volume and with a large frequency of vehicle / wildlife collisions. Due to the expanding suburban population and climate change, as well as widely dispersed resources, wildlife populations have become increasingly fragmented and forced to cross highways or other man made infrastructure (if you’re interested in this topic, look for my upcoming post on the book Rewilding the World!). Speaking to this, wildlife / vehicle collisions have increased by 15% in the last 50 years. Though the mortality rate may not be that high for humans in these accidents, they are almost 100% for the animals involved.
The Olin Partnership
Elevated corridors have become increasingly popular in the conservation community, and have been employed in North America, Europe, and Asia, notably in the Y2Y (Yosemite to Yukon) Initiative. Each design submitted for the ARC competition thus has sought to strike a balance that reconciles the mobility of humans and wildlife through the landscape, and how to create new habitat and road networks to avoid the collisions that we currently are faced with.