13 July 2013

Moose Fence? Maybe Not, Say Locals

The driver of a pickup truck herds a bull moose off of Minnesota Drive as traffic backs up on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 with the Kenai Mountains in the background.
BOB HALLINEN — Anchorage Daily News
A five-mile stretch of Minnesota Drive and O'Malley Road is the most dangerous in all of Anchorage when it comes to vehicle collisions with moose.

Between 2000 and 2010, the corridor between International Airport Road and the Old Seward Highway saw 106 encounters with the animals, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

State traffic planners say fencing off the highway, like they've done along Elmore Road and the Glenn Highway, would slice that figure in half, and there's federal money to pay for it. But the state's plan is colliding with area residents who argue that tree-cutting associated with the project will expose their homes to highway noise and cut property values.
I'm not sure how the planners think moose will migrate if they're fenced off & can't cross the road. These very large but gentle herbivores were here first, and we should be accommodating them, insofar as possible. Not to ridiculous extremes ... I'm no tree-hugger ... but let's face it: moose aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, and they tend to get hung up by their, um, hindquarters trying to jump taller fences.

Better that the drivers would simply pay a bit more attention. There are nearly 1,000 moose in Anchorage, this time of year, and it's not reasonable to expect them to go in search of a crosswalk. :)

12 comments:

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Really, you can't just put up signs for moose crossing zones and have the moose follow them?

Rev. Paul said...

Nope; they insist on misbehaving.

PioneerPreppy said...

I wouldn't worry about the moose one way or the other myself. If the traffic was thick enough to become really dangerous if a moose ran out then fence the thing off. However the property owners have a legitimate gripe. They paid for property with the qualities they wanted for a reason so I can understand them wanting to keep it that way.

If the locals who use the road are happy with the moose using it as well, or I guess more to the point feel the moose issue is worth the landscape then leave the thing be.

Just my thoughts anyway.

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

Up north in the upper peninsula of Michigan we have all kinds of large deer crossing the road way. The drivers up there respect the animals and drive cautiously. I think we need to make people more responsible behind the steering wheel. They need to drive instead of doing everything else behind the wheel (like texting, talking, reading, goofing off, makeup...etc...).

Rev. Paul said...

Preppy, the traffic on Minnesota is quite heavy before & after work hours, but the moose are always present.

For the record, Minnesota is a city street, but is also a four-lane divided roadway with a speed limit of 60 (and average speeds of 65 to 70).

Sandy, I'm with you. Like most other traffic issues, it's more "driver error" than "the moose should go away".

Corey said...

Didn't they build a overpass for bears to cross the highway in Canada a few years back? Moose overpass mite work.

Rev. Paul said...

Canada might have, Corey, but it's unlikely that we will.

drjim said...

I would NOT want to hit a moose when I was traveling 60+ MPH!

I've seen what medium sized deer can do to a car, and clobbering a moose would have be exponentially worse....

ProudHillbilly said...

I gather moose can't jump fences the way deer can - I've seen deer clear standard farm fences from standing without batting an eye. A proportional moose fence would have to be TALL if they can jump like deer.

I figure I'm going to hit a deer at some point. I'm careful and not a speeder, but it's all part of living in this area.

Rev. Paul said...

drjim, since adult moose weigh between 1,000 and 1,400 pounds, they pretty much destroy a car when there's a collision. Doesn't do the moose or the car's passengers any good at all.

PH, moose can jump, but not like their whitetail cousins. Weighing 10 times as much limits their vertical travel. :)

Brigid said...

Where Dad lives they built a little bridge between two tall trees that span a four lane road so the squirrels can cross safely.

Might be hard getting the Moose to use it though (I understand they don't much care for heights)

Rev. Paul said...

Brigid, that's a funny mental image, but if the squirrels are already in the trees, then the little bridge makes sense. Getting the moose to go to one spot to cross would be problematic. (Durned libertarian animals, anyway...)