This week, 25 kilometres of new, taller fencing will be erected along the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Hope to help reduce wildlife-related vehicle accidents.
The $1.2-million project will replace current livestock fencing along both sides of Highway 5, starting at Comstock Road and running 12 kilometres southbound until it connects with existing wildlife-exclusion fencing.
On average, there are approximately 160 wildlife-related vehicle accidents each year on Highway 5 — 75 per cent of which are with deer, according to the highways ministry.
Wildlife-exclusion fencing is four feet higher than livestock fencing, blocking larger animals, such as deer, moose and elk from provincial highways.
Highway 5 begins east of Hope and ends in northern B.C. at Highway 16 north of Valemount, and includes the Coquihalla Highway, between Hope and Kamloops.
“Every year in B.C., wildlife-vehicle collisions cost society millions of dollars and can have major impacts on wildlife populations,” said Candace Batycki, B.C. and Yukon program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “Wildlife-exclusion fencing combined with road crossing infrastructure is a proven solution for people and wildlife, and we commend the ministry on expanding its exclusion-fencing system.”
The project, awarded to Progressive Fence Installations of Langley, will add to the nearly 180 kilometres of wildlife-exclusion fencing already in place along Highway 5.
While the fence installation is not expected to cause any travel delays, drivers are reminded to go online to drivebc.ca for up-to-date road information.