For quite a while, Highway 93’s route through Montana was notorious for being one of, if not the, most dangerous roads in the state. It was so dangerous, in fact, that cars in the area often donned bumper stickers stating “pray for me, I drive Highway 93”. In 1989, the Montana Department of Transportation proposed their plan to fix the safety concerns surrounding the route, hoping to expand it by five lanes.
Expanding a highway by five lanes would allow traffic to spread out more and could reduce the number of accidents, but it would also make crossing the road, both for children and animals alike, significantly more dangerous. Fortunately, the Salish and Kootenai tribes were able to veto the Montana DOT’s expansion, proposing a different, more effective plan. With the help of tribal wildlife ecologists, the groups proposed 42 wildlife crossings across Highway 93, and in late 2000, the Montana DOT began working on just that.
Today, with the help of camera traps placed at 29 crossings, officials confirm that more than 22,000 animals use the crossings annually, and a study conducted in 2015 found that accidents on the highway had been reduced by 71%. Monagbay put together a little documentary covering the changes among Highway 93, give it a watch, it’s only about 8 minutes.
Image Credit: Mongabay via YouTube