KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A wildlife group is working to create safe crossings for animals along the highway near the Smoky Mountains along the Tennessee and North Carolina border.
The Safe Passage Fund Coalition recently launched the I-40 Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Crossing Project to create overpasses and underpasses for animals along 28 miles of the interstate near the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest, WATE reported.
The project would make the highway safer for drivers and wildlife. Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife conservation group, that said crashes involving wild animals causes an estimated $12 billion in damage a year.
About 26,000 vehicles drive along the stretch of I-40 daily.
“Often wildlife crossing structures pay for themselves in reducing the costs of these collisions,” the group said.
The Safe Passage Coalition includes the Conservation Fund, Wildlands Network, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.
An overpass built two years ago to allow wildlife to safely travel across a Utah interstate is working, wildlife officials said in November.