Construction of a wildfire fence along Highway 3
“Improving traffic safety while protecting wildlife along our highways is a win-win and shows the value of working with our partners on such critical projects. This is the kind of collaboration our government will continue to engage in to come up with made-in-Alberta solutions for Alberta issues.” - Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
“Highway 3 through the Crowsnest Pass is one of the most important links for wildlife in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. This fencing project is an exciting first step in ensuring bighorn sheep, grizzly bears and other iconic wildlife can move up and down the Rocky Mountains safely.” - Stephen Legault, Program Director, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
Other groups involved are:
Anatum Ecological Consulting Ltd.
Road Watch in the Pass
Western Transportation Institute
Alberta Environment and Parks
Another nearby project on Highway 3 is underway to install a combination of new mesh and a protective five-metre-high wall on a 20-metre-high rock face to prevent rocks from falling onto the road. This $1.1-million project is replacing a barrier installed in 2012 and will require some lane closures and reduced speeds until it is completed later this year.
Wildlife Fence Facts
- Roughly 1,440 metres of wildlife fencing will be installed in four sections along Highway 3 near Crowsnest Lake and Emerald Lake.
- The 2.4-metre-high fence will be installed about nine metres from the shoulder of the road.
- The fence will include six “jump-outs,” one-way ramps to allow animals that have jumped the fence to get back to the natural area, while preventing them from moving onto the road.
- The fencing will help direct animals under an existing bridge so they can safely cross under the highway.
- Animals are attracted to this location on Highway 3 because of adjacent lakes and road salt in the winter months.
- Signs warning motorists of potential wildlife activity and crossings at fence ends will be installed in the westbound direction.
- Alberta Transportation, in consultation with its environmental partners, is looking at two additional stretches of Highway 3 as potential future locations for wildlife fencing.
- Similar fencing and wildlife underpasses have been built along Highway 1 in the Bow Valley region.
Falling Rock Protection Facts
- The most active rock-fall zone in this area is about 20 metres wide, but rock-fall issues extend for about 600 metres.
- The mesh net covers the entire 600-metre rock wall, anchored at the top of the face and ending just above ground level.
- The rock-fall barrier spans an area about 20 metres wide and about five metres high at the most active zone.
- Over the past few decades, large boulders fell, bounced and rolled onto Highway 3 in the active rock-fall area, creating safety issues for motorists. The largest may have been a desk-sized boulder in 2004 that stopped along the highway centre-line.
- The new design will replace the rock-fall barrier in the most active rock-fall zone.
- This design will be able to absorb rock-fall impacts with little or no maintenance other than easy removal of accumulated rocks on the uphill side of the barrier.
Beware of wildlife on highways