Thursday, October 2, 2008

Colorado is Just So Cool.

I think the world of Colorado. It not only has the slimmest people in the nation (less than 19% are obese), it also has beautiful mountains! And City Beautiful architecture! And theatres everywhere! And lots of Democrats! And gays for days! Could there possibly be more?

Well, yes. Those innovative little mountaineers are using security measures implemented at prisons as a possible way to reduce roadkill. (Save the bunnies!)

Colorado highway planners are experimenting with the same technology used by some prisons for perimeter security to prevent drivers from colliding with deer and elk.

The Colorado Department of Transportation launched a new wildlife detection system Tuesday along a stretch of U.S. 160 east of Durango in southwestern Colorado, where officials say about 70 percent of all reported collisions involve wild animals.

Fencing was deemed unworkable, and wildlife detection systems that use lasers or microwaves were ruled out since they could be triggered by snow or tree branches.

Instead, highway officials are testing a system that involves a cable buried parallel to the highway. The cable emits an electromagnetic field that is calibrated to detect large animals.

When an animal is detected, electronic signs are activated to warn drivers. To prevent cars from triggering the signs when they enter U.S. 50, separate sensors were installed to detect vehicles and send a signal that would keep the warning signs dark.The pilot project includes seven speed radar detectors to register traffic counts and track drivers' speed outside and inside the test zone.