BEND, Ore. - It’s the time of year again, when motorists need to be wary of wildlife on Central Oregon highways. It’s “Watch Out For Wildlife” week, ODOT reminded drivers Thursday.
This is when mule deer, for the most part, will be making their way from the highlands to the lower elevations for winter. And in between the deer and their destination lie a few ODOT highways, including US Highway 97 and OR Highway 31.
Many of the deer are bound for the Fort Rock area, and there’s a deer “hot spot” just south of Bend near Highway 97, so that’s an area for particular attention for motorists.
It’s also an area near which ODOT has built two wildlife undercrossings that have proven effective in nearly eliminating deer-vehicle crashes. ODOT said will be building another wildlife crossing just north of Gilchrist at the site of a project to add passing lanes to the highway.
(A video explaining this project is available at: https://www.myowf.org/gilchristcrossing )
ODOT will be engaging our community about the potential for deer-vehicle collisions throughout the week and beyond, including posting messages on overhead message boards along US97.
ODOT is also partnering with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Forest Service to alert motorists to be aware of this season’s migration.