DOT Using Electronic Signage to Alert Drivers on Blewett Pass
Drivers heading over U.S. Highway 97 on Blewett Pass will be seeing some temporary signage along the roadway this month.
Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says the messages are being implemented due to a brief migratory period of deer on the north side of the pass near the Big Y junction.
"We have been working with our partners at the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and have identified some deer migration corridors in that area which peak in May, along with later on in the fall in October and November. So we'll have our electronic messaging boards there telling drivers to be alert for the potential of deer crossing the road."
Loebsack says the electronic messaging signs are a simple and cost-effective way of warning motorists about many types of temporary road hazards, and adds that her agency has already seen marked success when using them.
"We've seen some really good results from that sort of emphasis messaging. We've used it where we have the bighorn sheep near the roadway on U.S. Highway 97A. And we've seen some good response and a reduced number of collisions involving those animals there. So we're looking forward to seeing what kind of results we get from the messaging on Blewett about the deer there."
The DOT has seen a 50% reduction in collisions with wildlife where seasonal messaging signs are deployed.
The DFW attached GPS collars to mule deer in the region over the last several years to identify the migration area near U.S. Highway 97.
Loebsack adds the DOT is also reminding drivers not to stop on or near the roadway to take pictures or feed wildlife when it is present, as this can lure more animals onto the roadway and create a higher likelihood of accidents.