- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - Central Idaho officials are trying to find ways to reduce the number of collisions between motorists and wildlife on State Highway 75, including seeking donations to buy a radar system to alert drivers to animals in the road.

“We shouldn’t discount this idea due to a lack of money,” Alan Reynolds, a member of the Blaine County Transportation Committee, said during a committee meeting Wednesday.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports (https://bit.ly/1vEyKbU) that the committee also formed another group to consider solutions such as warning signs and motion sensors that can alert drivers.

The committee also on Wednesday decided to seek money from the Idaho Transportation Department for an animal detection radar system that authorities say has worked well in northern Idaho.

Other potential funding sources, committee members said, include the Idaho Conservation League, The Nature Conservancy and the Blaine County Land, Water and Wildlife Levy fund.

A radar system that could detect animals on the road and cause lights to flash would cost from $40,000 to $100,000.

Heavily traveled State Highway 75 cuts through the Wood River Valley and connects Hailey, which has an airport, with the resort areas of Ketchum and Sun Valley about 12 miles to the north.

Studies have found that herds of deer and elk cross the highway at all times of year, including winter. Favored crossing places are known.

Roger Olson, a committee member and a retired conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said the persistence of deer and elk at Peregrine Ranch north of Hailey is because an irrigated berm about a mile long runs on the east side of the highway.

“The berm is a big buffet line for elk,” Olson said.

Connie Jones, a committee member and spokeswoman for the Idaho Transportation Department, said she would request that the agency put up portable messaging signs to warn motorists about deer and elk herds crossing the highway this fall.

County Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who is also the chair of the committee, said she’ll seek money from the Idaho Transportation Department for wildlife crossing signs that have a graphic representation of a large bull elk standing over a wrecked vehicle.


Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, https://www.mtexpress.com

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