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ACTION ALERT: Call for letters to the New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department in support of measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions through Tijeras Canyon 

The Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage Coalition (TCSPC or Coalition), chaired by Animal Protection of New Mexico, is working to reduce the number of dangerous wildlife-vehicle collisions through Tijeras Canyon east of Albuquerque. You can help ensure the safety of wildlife in this critically important area!

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is developing plans to reconstruct Interstate-40 through Tijeras Canyon east of Albuquerque. This project is part of Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership (GRIP), approved by the New Mexico Legislature in 2003. In Tijeras Canyon, GRIP will include reconstruction of Interstate-40 and widening of the highway’s shoulders.

GRIP provides NMDOT with the perfect opportunity to incorporate wildlife-friendly features into reconstruction plans, therefore reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and making the highway safer for both people and animals.

NMDOT hired Marron and Associates to conduct a feasibility study to identify the most suitable locations for ecopassages in the Tijeras Canyon GRIP project area. The preliminary results of the feasibility study were promising, and included such important recommendations as fencing to funnel wildlife to safe passages across the highway, improvement of existing safe passage areas for animals, and increased signage to alert drivers to areas where wildlife may be present.

Please write to NMDOT in support of the recommendations made by Marron and Associates in their feasibility study. Some writing guidelines follow below. Thank you for your help! For more information, please visit www.safepassagecoalition.org.  

• Address your letter to the following:
 
Secretary Rhonda Faught
New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department
P.O. Box 1149
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1149 

• Copy your letter to the following:
 
Larry Velasquez
District Three Engineer
New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department
P.O. Box 91750
Albuquerque, NM 87199 

Mark Fahey
Project Development Engineer
New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department
P.O. Box 91750
Albuquerque, NM 87199 

• Please commend the Department of Transportation on the wonderful groundbreaking work being done to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions in Tijeras Canyon, including the feasibility study conducted by Marron & Associates in association with the GRIP highway improvement project G1243.
 
• Note if you are a resident living in the Tijeras Canyon area. Briefly refer to any experience you’ve had seeing animals on the highway (living or deceased), seeing cars swerve out of animals’ way, or personally swerving to avoid hitting animals on the highway.
 
• Urge the Department to implement the recommendations made in the feasibility study conducted by Marron & Associates, for any or all of the following reasons:

• Adopting the feasibility study recommendations will safeguard both people and animals by reducing dangerous collisions on the Interstate. Motorist safety is an urgent concern due to frequent wildlife-related accidents along with section of Interstate-40 that passes through Tijeras Canyon, east of Albuquerque. The Department can go a long way toward improving the SAFETY of drivers by implementing the feasibility study’s measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions through Tijeras Canyon.
• Adopting the recommendations will also show that New Mexico is a true LEADER in caring for both people and wildlife in our state.
• I-40 and Route 66 are dangerous barriers for wildlife that cause unwanted roadkill, and effectively isolate certain wildlife populations. The feasibility study recommendations would help provide effective wildlife crossings and fencing to funnel animals safely across the highway, so they are less likely to wander into harm’s way and cause deadly accidents.
 

• Please keep your letter succinct and respectful.
 

• Mail your letters by mid-April 2005 to ensure consideration by the Highway and Transportation Department.