[ARC_images http://arc-solutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Canmore-Kootenay_National_Park-1.jpg]Superhighways allow us to move so far and so quickly that it’s possible to forget about the landscapes on either side of the road. As we extend and expand the network of roads, more motorists are moving faster through remote areas: areas that were once wilderness have become essentially urbanized. Our transportation networks have had the unintended consequence of rendering more of North America’s living landscape invisible to us. Chief among ARC’s objectives is not only to reduce the number and frequency of wildlife-vehicle collisions, but to use crossing infrastructure to change the way we see and understand our roads and the places through which they travel.
When designed and deployed correctly, and in the right context, crossing structures act as a new, visible layer of functioning landscape, weaving over and under our highways, in and out of the natural landscape. In this way, crossing structures can reveal and highlight the landscape and habitats our road networks have fragmented; they have the potential to express this remarkably—even beautifully.
Just as suspension bridges can be elegant and delicate in appearance but strong in function, wildlife crossings—whether overpasses or underpasses—can be beautiful in their simplicity while effective in linking habitats.
This type of proactive and creative collaboration has the potential to transform the ways in which human infrastructure and animal movement coexist. One day, perhaps crossings will become a defining feature of the American landscape experience.