With the mating season for elk and deer due to begin in September, EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) is implementing a pilot program to help lower the number of animal-vehicle collisions. The program is based on studies done by the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the State of Utah.
Workers are installing posts with white canvas bags wrapped around them at 50-foot intervals on stretches of roadways on the 580-square-mile site where there have been a high number of deer and elk strikes.
According to the studies, when illuminated by headlights, the bags look like a danger signal to the animals by appearing to be a white-tailed deer running. Animals generally waited until the illumination disappeared before crossing the road, the research says.
“The safety of the workforce is paramount and is a fundamental part of any traffic improvement program,” said Jeff Frey, RL assistant manager for mission support. “We’re optimistic that what has helped reduce deer and elk strikes in Utah and Wyoming will work here at Hanford.”
After the posts are installed, workers will set up cameras along the roadway. The footage will be used to determine the viability of the effort during a one-year trial.
“Placing the white canvas bags on posts along the road could be an effective and practical way to help reduce the number of animal strikes,” said Andy Foster, manager of MSA safety support and chair for the Hanford Site Traffic Safety Committee. “We hope this program will improve the safety of our workforce during their daily commute.”