We’re used to seeing projects that help humans get around (like highways and pedestrian crossings) but it is less common to see projects that help nature navigate around us. This wildlife crossing was designed by Olin Studio for West Vail Pass, Colorado as a way to help animals pass safely over the street. The design, called “Wild (X)ing,” is one entry in a design competition that aims to find a way for both wildlife and humans to travel safely in the same area.
Because a highway runs through the very large White River National Forest, it poses a very real threat to the animals that make their homes there. The green bridge concept would help wildlife in the White River National Forest cross over a busy highway while staying at a safe distance from the vehicles.
The wildlife bridge concept uses a repeating rhomboid shape because of its inherent strength and functionality as a modular component. The bridge is designed to be expandable when needed; if the highway is widened in the future the bridge can easily be widened along with it.
Each rhomboid is actually what the designers call a “habitat module,” which is a segment of habitat naturally found in the area. Six different types of habitats have been identified for inclusion in the project, ranging from xeric grassland to wet meadow to spruce and fir forest.
By combining these modules on the wildlife-friendly crossing, the designers hope to create a landscape that connects the man-made structure to the surrounding wildlife and provides a comfortable environment for fauna. If the surrounding landscape should happen to change in the future, modules can be lifted out by cranes and replaced. According to the designers, this module approach is the safest and most cost-effective way to integrate a wildlife bridge into the national park.