Thousands of images confirm growing risk of collisions between vehicles and wildlife
Novelty Hill Road Northeast runs through some of the county’s most scenic countryside. But this road has a dangerous side – and it’s the reason King County is set to break ground on an innovative federally funded project aimed at preventing serious animal-vehicle collisions. The federal grant covers 100 percent of the eligible costs for the design and construction of the public safety project.
Over the past few years, King County has amassed nearly 40,000 infrared images from 12 video cameras situated in forested areas along the Novelty Hill Road corridor - learn more.
This project will construct a wildlife crossing structure for wildlife to travel over Northeast Novelty Hill Road in an area with numerous documented animal-vehicle collisions.
Northeast Novelty Hill Road is one of the busiest arterials in unincorporated King County, connecting rural towns and communities within the Snoqualmie Valley to the regional growth center of Redmond. In less than ten years an additional 10,000 people have moved into the urban planned developments that encircle the crossing area, equivalent to the populations of both Duvall and Carnation.
The crossing will include features to encourage wildlife to use the new overpass, rather than entering the roadway and endangering drivers.
Overpass aligned near protected habitat
Located just east of Redmond Ridge Drive Northeast, the Wildlife Habitat Network consists of 457 contiguous miles of protected habitat throughout King County and is actively used by more than 175 animal species, including bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote, and deer.
Areas where roads cross significant wildlife-use areas, such as the Wildlife Habitat Network, are anticipated to have a higher frequency of vehicular encounters with wildlife, and thus accidents. Nearly half of animal-related car accidents result from drivers swerving to avoid an animal. These areas need to be taken into consideration when managing the county roadway system.
Engineering Services Section Manager
King County Road Services Division
March 2013 most recent incident
Deer struck and killed at the intersection of Redmond Ridge Drive and Northeast Novelty Hill Road on March 12, 2013.
Pregnant doe struck and killed in November 2012 on Northeast Novelty Hill Road near the planned crossing.
Deer struck and killed in April 2012
on Northeast Novelty Hill Road, wandered into the woods to die.
View a chart
showing the relative sizes of animals compared to a six-foot man and an average car.
Collisions involving larger wildlife species including deer, bear and cougars usually cause greater economic loss and injury than collisions with smaller animals. Since 1999 there have been 18 deer and 2 cougars killed after being struck by vehicles on Northeast Novelty Hill Road.
Roadkill threatens humans as well as animals
Each year, more than 200 motorists are killed and thousands more are injured
in animal-vehicle collisions, according to The Wildlife Society. The insurance industry estimates that the annual cost to society for these fatalities and injuries is $200 million
. Individual motorists usually pay at least $2,000 in vehicle repair every time they hit a deer. (From the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration)
More wildlife than we knew!
Captured via infrared,
published April 22, 2013
Captured via infrared,
published June 7, 2012
Bobcat in the snow.
Coyote by a stream.