elk crossing

Elk cross under Interstate 90 near Gold Creek on May 9, 2018.

The Washington Department of Transportation captured video of a coyote crossing over I-90, east of Snoqualimie Pass, early Wednesday morning.

The footage is the first video documentation of animals using the new overpass. The I-90 Wildlife Watch Facebook group posted the video to their page Thursday.

The wildlife crossing was unveiled in late September and is part of a wider effort to connect habitats fragmented by the state’s busiest road.

That effort includes the crossing and six undercrossings which allow wildlife to travel north to south in the Cascades.

The Washington projects are modeled after an underpass and overpass in Banff National Park, which crosses over the Trans-Canada Highway.

Since that overpass opened 20 years ago, it’s estimated that 152,000 animals have crossed safely.

Freeways and roads have long disrupted natural animal migration paths, leading to increased mortality and fragmenting habitats.

The I-90 project is the first of its kind in Washington to try and balance human transportation needs with wildlife habitats.

Photos of animals using the underpasses are available online.

This article first published in The Spokesman-Review.

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