TxDOT sees wildlife using Highway 77 underpass, with plans for more

11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Friday, December 09 2022 Dec 9, 2022 December 09, 2022 6:07 PM December 09, 2022 in News - Local

The Texas Department of Transportation are using the underpass located on Highway 77 north of Raymondville to see if more wildlife access it.

The underpass goes underneath a major interstate, and TxDOT has plans to create 23 additional wildlife crossings across the Valley.

"The wildlife is using it; we've seen an uptick in activity,” TxDOT spokesman Ray Pedraza said. “Prior to the construction of this particular wildlife crossing, there was a high mortality rate for ocelots along this stretch of roadway."

The wildlife crossing is about a year old, and TxDOT cameras have been capturing every moment of wildlife crossing through it.

To the east of it lies the historic Yturria Ranch, which has a confirmed presence of the endangered ocelot.

Other underpasses in the Valley near ocelot habitat have shown signs the animals are using them, but some have taken years to show results.

You don't have to look far to see it's dangerous to all species in the area, including humans.

According to TxDOT, 18 people die per year in the state, and about a thousand are injured in crashes with wildlife.

“We’re hoping to reduce the mortality rate not just for people but also human lives," Pedraza added. “The wildlife here are getting accustomed to it, and thankfully more of them are using it."

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