NE Novelty Hill Road runs through some of the county’s most scenic countryside. But this road has a dangerous side – and it’s the reason King County has 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.
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 NE 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)
Over the past few years, King County has amassed nearly 40,000 infrared images from 12 video cameras situated in forested areas along the NE Novelty Hill Road corridor - learn more.
This project constructed a wildlife crossing structure for wildlife to travel over NE Novelty Hill Road in an area with numerous documented animal-vehicle collisions.
While it is still early in project completion we are already seeing some wildlife use as some large mammals are safely and successfully crossing NE Novelty Hill Road.
NE 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 NE, 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
Bear is separated from high-speed road by project fence May 30, 2014.
Deer leaves safety enhancement project May 16, 2014.
Coyote crosses south to north April 17, 2014.
Deer heads north to south April 17, 2014.
Two deer walk together away from roadway and traffic April 4, 2014.
Deer approaches the project on north side April 4, 2014.