Ovation: Georgia Bears Get Tunnels Under Highway.
One night last month on my way home from work I was driving along the same two-lane country road that I’ve driven every night for years when an animal jumped in front of my car. I clipped it with the left front fender of my car. I couldn’t tell if it was a small deer, a big dog, a yeti or a Sasquatch but it did some serious damage to my vehicle. I doubled back to see if I could find it but it had run off and was nowhere to be found. I like to think it ran off unharmed.
Drivers in the state of Georgia can worry a little less about hitting animals on their highways … particularly black bears. The state has completed initial plans to build six tunnels underneath a highway in the center of the state to allow the animals to safely cross.
The state is currently purchasing land adjacent to State Route 96 to enable the construction of the tunnels.
The tunnels will be similar in design to those used in Florida to help the endangered Florida Panther negotiate roadways in the Sunshine State. The new passageways should help protect bears that live in Georgia’s Ocmulgee and Oaky Woods wildlife management areas, one of the three areas in the state where the black bears are found. The bears can also be found in the North Georgia mountains and the Okefenokee Swamp near the Florida/Georgia border.
The damage to my car wasn’t serious and I got it back from the body shop within a week. My auto insurance covered most of the cost but I had to pay a deductible. And now, when I drive home in the evenings, I find myself using my high beams as I travel through that particular stretch of road. I figure that critter is still out there and it could jump in front of me again.
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