Animal Overpass

Traveling America’s four million miles of roads can be dangerous, especially near wildlife. Over a million accidents a year involve wild animals, causing thousands of injuries, and hundreds of deaths,
on both sides.

In San Antonio, Texas, that problem is compounded by a six-lane highway that cuts through the Phil Hardberger Park, a large bio-preserve.
After multiple crashes, officials searched for a way to keep both animals and humans safe. That led to years of studies, planning, and fundraising.

The end result is the ‘Robert L. B. Tobin Landbridge’, an overpass connecting the two sides of the park. The project cost 23 million dollars to build and is designed to look like a natural hill, complete with native plants and trees. It stretches 150 feet over a major arterial highway and took over two years to build. It connects the park’s 330 acres, along with seven miles of hiking trails.

The 165-foot wide structure is considered to be the largest land bridge of its kind in America, and is meant to help animals like coyotes, deer, and raccoons safely roam the park. Similar projects are under construction in Houston and San Francisco.

Land Bridges are fairly new to America, but have been in use around the world for decades. Studies show that wildlife crossings drastically reduce accidents, saving lives and money, which can be redirected into more safety projects.

Wildlife bridges help revitalize entire ecosystems, offering animals more range of movement and biodiversity. And they don’t all have to be huge. Smaller projects, such as tunnels, ladders and culverts can also keep wildlife safer and pave the way, literally, for a safer environment.

Whatever the size, the animals appear to be big fans, quickly adapting to their new options and creating new habits of safer travel.