Arch installation. Photo credit: WSDOT

In summer 2016, the Washington Department of Transportation installed the first arch over the westbound lanes of I-90 that will support the first wildlife overpass constructed in the 15-mile I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.

Each arch constructed requires approximately 40 concrete segments.  Once the wildlife overpass is complete by winter 2019, it will be 160 feet wide and vegetated from the forest around it.

“I-90 has a tremendous impact on wildlife because it’s carrying over 28,000 vehicles a day bisecting the Cascades,” said Jen Watkins of Conservation Northwest, coordinator for the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition. “If we prevent them from moving, we’re blocking their ability to find food, we’re blocking their ability to find new places to live when conditions change, like the large wildfires we saw last year, and we’re blocking their ability to find new mates and have some genetic diversity in the population.”

Speaking at the groundbreaking event for the wildlife overpass, Jason Kuiken, deputy forest supervisor of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, said projects like the I-90 overcrossing help reconnect fish and wildlife habitat and exemplify the mission of the Forest Service. “This is truly an exceptional project that extends well beyond the place we are today, “said Kuiken.