Any driver who’s hit a deer or spotted one standing on the shoulder of the road understands why new fencing is being placed along portions of Interstate Highway 75 in the Greater Tiftarea. Old fencing with a height of four or five feet has being replaced with eight-foot game fence in various locations in Crisp, Turner, Tift and Lowndes counties through Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) maintenance service contracts. Fence replacement just wrapped up in Lowndes County and must be inspected by GDOT. The other counties are now complete. Contractors were also asked to use wire to fill in bottom gaps at low spots to prevent deer from getting under. Given a space of a foot or 18 inches, deer will “lay on their belly and scoot right under it. “They’re pretty agile animals,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with the Ga. Department of Natural Resources. Last year 15,479 motor vehicle collisions with animals were reported on all routes statewide. Those specified as collisions with deer totaled 8,263. However, not all agencies and officers report in the same manner, so some of the 7,216 collisions with “animals” may also have been deer. The collisions resulted in 969 injuries and 16 fatalities statewide. Those are just the collisions that were reported through law enforcement. “It’s nothing for a deer to jump a five-foot fence. The eight-foot fence may reduce the number of deer that get onto the highway, which can prevent crashes and injuries to motorists,” said Scott Chambers, GDOT maintenance engineer. While deer can jump eight feet, “they generally don’t unless they’re pressured,” Killmaster said. The fence height also reduces the chance of a pedestrian accessing the interstate from private property.
Source: Tifton Grapevine