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Taller wildlife fencing to be installed along Coquihalla Highway

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation says nearly 25 kilometres of fencing will be installed along the Coquihalla Highway, south of Merritt. Ministry of Transportation

Starting next week, construction crews will begin installing nearly 25 kilometres of fencing along the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt.

The fencing, at a cost of $1.2 million, is being put up to help prevent accidents between vehicles and animals.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, approximately 160 wildlife-related vehicle accidents happen every year along the Coquihalla, 75 per cent of which involve deer.

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The ministry says the fencing will be 1.2 metres higher (four feet) than livestock fencing, and will block animals such as deer, moose and elk from the highway.

“The exclusion fencing works by redirecting the animals to existing wildlife underpasses, allowing for the safe movement of animal populations under the highway,” the ministry said in a press release.

The fencing will replace current livestock fencing along both sides of the Coquihalla, starting at Comstock Road and running 12 kilometres southbound until it connects with existing wildlife-exclusion fencing.

READ MORE: Collisions with elk renew calls for wildlife fencing near Canmore

The ministry said the fencing project will add to the nearly 180 kilometres of wildlife-exclusion fencing already in place along the highway.

“This is an importation corridor not only for our community but for the entire province,” said Merritt Mayor Linda Brown.

“This fencing will ensure the safe movement of animals. It comes at a key time with higher numbers of guests visiting our beautiful region each year.”

The installation isn’t expected to cause any traffic delays.

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