Driving U.S Highway 93 through Montana can be a nerve-wracking, white-knuckle experience anytime of year.

And when there are lots more hours of darkness, that can only add to the stress. Such as, where is a deer in the rut about to jump out in front of you now!

While we can't get animals to read signs or follow directions, the Montana Department of Transportation can at least conduct studies and make determinations on more likely areas where drivers and wildlife might come into contact. And even a five-mile stretch might help save some lives. Especially when there is no protection in that area at all right now.

MDT tells us that work has begun near St. Ignatius to reduce wildlife collisions on U.S. Highway 93. The project goes from about two miles south of St. Ignatius to roughly five miles heading north.

Crews are installing wildlife fencing in areas where there are currently no fencing or any other wildlife deterrents. The project also will include wildlife jump-outs and "approach treatments" such as metal wildlife grates and cattle guards.

In an area with abundant wildlife, MDT hopes to reduce the likelihood of collisions between vehicles and not only white-tail and mule deer, but grizzly and black bears as well. Weather permitting, most of the project should be completed during the next few months.Then the finishing touches on some of the approach treatments will have to wait until this coming spring.

If you do happen to have any questions about the project, you can contact Megan Redmond, Missoula District Public Relations Specialist, 406-396-1978.

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