Studies: Corridor Q Driver Safety and Maintaining Habitat Connectivity
Cost and schedule ►
Construction is underway along a 14-mile section of highway in southwest Virginia's Buchanan County. The road segment, designated as U.S. Route 460 (or Corridor Q), is associated with the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS). ADHS was created by Congress as a means of connecting Appalachia to the interstate system and generating economic development in relatively isolated areas. Corridor Q will extend from the Kentucky state line to existing U.S. Route 460 in the town of Grundy.
From 2012 to 2014, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) relocated 75 elk from Kentucky to reclaimed mine lands in Buchanan County. Today, Virginia's total elk population includes over 250 animals, of which as least 200 inhabit Buchanan County. Approximately 100 elk inhabit the area along Corridor Q and the adjacent lands known as Southern Gap. The large size of elk and the abundance of high-quality habitat along and adjacent to Corridor Q may present challenges with regard to driver safety when the road opens to traffic.
In 2022, the Virginia Transportation Research Council and VDOT Bristol District began a one-year study to determine the most effective means of reducing risk to driver safety and maintaining habitat connectivity along Corridor Q in Buchanan County.
The purpose of this study is to determine the recommended locations and designs for wildlife crossings and fencing along Corridor Q to (1) reduce the risks to driver safety, (2) maintain habitat connectivity for wildlife, and (3) preserve the elk population and the associated local economic benefits they provide. While elk will be the primary focus of the evaluation, other wildlife in the area will also be considered with regard to minimizing wildlife crash risk and maintaining habitat connectivity.
The study will determine the recommended locations and designs for wildlife crossings and fencing along Corridor Q to reduce the risks to driver safety, maintain habitat connectivity for wildlife and preserve the elk population and the associated local economic benefits they provide.
Media Inquiries: Michelle Earl, VDOT Communications
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