WHY DO WE NEED SAFE PASSAGE FOR WILDLIFE ON SR 224?

- Bart H.

Please consider the well being of both people and animals as you consider any improvements to HWY 224. The area is a significant wildlife crossing area and is sad and unfortunate the wildlife destruction that has happened the last few years and traffic increases.  Note that a vibrant wildlife scene is a significant attractor in the area. Thoughtful planning and includes both people and wildlife has significant economic benefits.”

- Marilyn S

“We moved up here for the ability for our kids and grandchildren to be able to live around wildlife……it is so painful when they see beautiful wildlife on the side of the road dead ….please let’s not lose what most of us came here for……PLEASE…

- Laura R.

“…PLEASE help save people and wildlife.  The wildlife killed along 224 is just devastating.    As I am writing this to help support action to build a safe passage… PLEASE help support a safe passage for them to cross 224 safely!  …an elk was recently killed on 224 when an Uber drive with a local passenger from the Sundance Festival hit the elk. Luckily no injuries to those people in the vehicle, but it is only a matter of time until someone is killed. PLEASE help support a safe passage for wildlife to help save people! I’ve lived in Park City for 8 ½ years. The wildlife among us is a tremendous part of what makes this area so special. This is a mountain town and we should do everything possible to help protect OUR wildlife here. It’s the right thing to do.” 

- Kathryn D.

“Please help me to keep my heart from breaking any further.  Every time I see a dead animal lying along a highway I have a physical reaction in my chest.  It is my heart breaking over the presence of another animal killed by a car just for trying to cross a highway to return to his herd, his offspring or his bedding area…I have concerns over the widening of State Hwy 224…As our human population has been exploding…It is imperative that planning be implemented immediately to build a structure that ensures the safety of our wildlife migrating throughout our county especially now on Hwy 224. An overpass constructed over I80 has ensured that animals migrate to and from their places of habitat safely.  This is also a human issue to spare (the) lives of drivers involved in animal/vehicle related accidents…Wildlife is one of our treasures; let’s ensure their lives and their future with our human awareness of our ability to do this.  Thank you.” 

- Daniel T.

…Some people have said that a crossing would be unsightly, but in my opinion (often mutilated and injured) carcasses of animals are much more of an eye-sore.  I also note that such a crossing need not be ugly…

- Scott T.

I strongly recommend allocating funding and support for the implementation of wildlife bridges, well-lit signs, and enhanced speed enforcement measures. These solutions will not only mitigate the risks of accidents but also contribute to the overall safety of the community and its natural inhabitants. Your commitment to this cause will undoubtedly have a lasting positive impact on our local ecosystem.

- Wendy L

“…for goodness sake let’s do something instead of just studying it…”

- Ann D.

…Animals absolutely need safe passage routes across SR 224 to keep them and the roads safe..”

- Laura R.

PLEASE help save people and wildlife.  The wildlife killed along 224 is just devastating.    As I am writing this to help support action to build a safe passage…  PLEASE help support a safe passage for them to cross 224 safely!  …an elk was recently killed on 224 when an Uber drive with a local passenger from the Sundance Festival hit the elk. Luckily no injuries to those people in the vehicle, but it is only a matter of time until someone is killed.   PLEASE help support a safe passage for wildlife to help save people!  I’ve lived in Park City for 8 ½ years.  The wildlife among us is a tremendous part of what makes this area so special.     This is a mountain town and we should do everything possible to help protect OUR wildlife here. It’s the right thing to do.

- Liz L.

“We can’t turn back the clock and take back the highway and cars (sigh) but we can provide fencing and a viable crossing to protect the wildlife we have left.  It’s the right thing to do, what are we waiting for?  This should have been done years ago.”

- Jean T

As there are plans to widen SR 224 including a fast bus lane, It is critical that these plans include permanent and effective solutions including fencing and at least one wildlife crossing to protect  both our wildlife and motorists… Now is the perfect time to do something.   Create a safe passage for wildlife on SR 224 while we can and incorporate it with any plans to “improve” this road.  I heard that our Park City officials are concerned that a crossing and fencing will be an eyesore.  First of all, we should care more about the people and animals affected by these collisions which will worsen if we do nothing.  Secondly, widening the road is an eyesore in itself especially if it is littered with decaying carcasses.   I am sure people will be more amazed with Park City if they see what positive things we are doing to help this world like making a wildlife crossing and protecting these animals for future generations to enjoy.

- Brett G

“I support safe passage for wildlife on SR 224, so we will be able to see more beautiful wildlife.

- David and Susan A.

“We were both born in Utah and have lived in Park City for over 10 years. We carry Utah drivers licenses and own property and pay taxes in Park City.  We are very concerned about the safety of our wildlife and their safe passage across , over or under roads like 224. In spite of all the low cost efforts people, some locals, some workers, some visitors still drive well above the speed limit on our roads. Widening the road without fencing and safe passage efforts will only increase the death of our area wildlife.  WE NEED FENCING AND WILDLIFE CROSSINGS on 224 !…

- Marion K

“..It is unconscionable that we care so little for them (wildlife) that a wildlife crossing is not included in the plans to widen S.R. 224.  A wildlife passage is only a small percentage of the total cost of that extra lane and would make a huge difference in the protection of our wildlife and prevention of collisions…I urge you to think about the compelling reasons to include safe wildlife passage in your plans for S.R.224…

- Tara K

I support safe passage for wildlife, myself, and my fellow citizens.  I saw the dead elk on the side of 224 near the blue roof gas station.  Sad.  It’s just luck that a human wasn’t killed.  Also, nice introduction to Park City for all the Sundance visitors.  “Welcome to Slaughter Town USA!”  We can do better as a community.

Let’s get a win-win and be a leader for safe passage for wildlife and ourselves!”

UDOT, twice in the past four years, has hired specialists to look at the situation.

A study commissioned by UDOT Division of Research and Innovation and funded by UDOT Division of Traffic Safety, identified the top 25 highways in Utah for vehicle wildlife collisions.  SR224 was identified as fifth worst with 2.97 vehicle wildlife collisions per mile per year.

A study commissioned and funded by UDOT Region 2 and performed by BIO-WEST documented 247 vehicle wildlife collisions on SR224 between 2010 and 2020 at a cost of $7.5 million.  

The BIO-WEST study also referenced research results that show the measures currently in place, 45 mph speed limit, and wildlife warning signs and silhouettes, while raising driver awareness, have little or unknown effectiveness in permanently reducing vehicle wildlife collisions.

The BIO-WEST study goes on to say that the measures that have the highest success in reducing vehicle wildlife collisions are wildlife crossings, wildlife fencing, cattle guards and escape ramps. The study even identified the two hot-spot locations, those with highest frequency of wildlife vehicle collisions, as locations for wildlife crossings.  One is in the vicinity of McPolin Farm and the other in the vicinity of Swaner Preserve.  The study also states:  

These two locations could function as permanent wildlife corridors as they have open space and habitat on both sides of the highway and would not direct wildlife into residential areas”.

Based on the $7.5 million cost of vehicle wildlife collisions between 2010 and 2020,  between now and the 2034 Olympics could see another $7.5 million in senseless vehicle wildlife collision costs if a crossing is not in place.   More than likely the cost number will be even higher because the current 30,000 AADT number (annual average daily traffic) will surely increase.  We also have to account for the areas of open space that are already set aside as well as the recent open space land purchases by the city and county.  The entire basin is becoming protected space enlarging our wildlife habitat.

BRT before SR224 MP 8-7

Before expansion

BRT after SR224 MP 8-7

After expansion

The reduced speed limit and signs might help, but will not likely have a significant impact on reducing vehicle wildlife collisions as SR224 exists today at 82 feet in width.  Suggesting that these measures will work at a width of 115 feet, as a result of the proposed BRT, is highly unlikely.  In addition to the greater distance that wildlife will have to navigate across SR224, studies have shown that driver perception of what is a reasonable speed increases as a result of a wider roadway.

Moreover, HVT has not performed a study, analysis or evaluation of the impact the wider roadway  will have on the already high number of vehicle wildlife collisions on SR224.  For numerous other environmental concerns, in depth analyses were conducted with the necessary mitigation measures identified.  None were done to address the serious issue of vehicle wildlife collisions on SR224.

As a point of comparison, the three wildlife crossing projects that Utah submitted for federal grants to the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program (https://highways.dot.gov/federal-lands/programs/wildlife-crossings) in August 2023 were I80/I84 at a total cost of $26.53 million, US89 at a total of $10.39 million and US 40 at a total of $11.61 million. 

The one project awarded funds was US 89.  UDOT stated in the past five years, there have been nearly 75 crashes involving wildlife near US89.  That is 15 a year.  The BIO-WEST study documented 247 vehicle wildlife crashes on SR224 over 10 years.  That is 24.7 a year.  SR 224 has 165% higher number of vehicle/wildlife collisions per year than US89.

SR 224 is highly worthy of being a contender for the next round of WCPP grant applications, which will be due August 1, 2024.

Based on the level of community support, through funds raised and letters written and the facts presented above, SPSW respectfully requests that the Park City Council at its upcoming Strategic Planning meetings include the reduction of vehicle/wildlife collisions and provision of safe passage, along SR 224,for wildlife as a high priority.