Obstacles to living on the streets of the Northwest are becoming more frequent

Last year was particularly unfavorable for wildlife on the streets of northwestern Russia. In the Novgorod region alone, according to official UGIBDD data, there were 173 road accidents. 14 people were injured, four lost their lives. In the Leningrad region in the autumn of 2021, four similar accidents occurred on the Kola motorway, another on the A-114 Vologda-Novaya Ladoga motorway and the sixth on the ring road north of St. Petersburg. For a fallen animal, the driver is obliged to pay a fine, the amount of which can reach up to 80 thousand rubles. Unless, of course, he is still alive, because the mass of an adult moose, which falls with all its weight on the hood of a car in a collision, reaches 300-600 kg.

They are the moose that represent the most dangerous living obstacle for the driver – both because of their enormous weight and because of their speed: during the groove, they can cover distances of up to 60-70 kilometers per day.

In addition to elk, a driver on the road can meet a wild boar, a deer, a deer, the fox and three species of rare animals in our country are already threatened with extinction due to death under the wheels: the cat of the Far East forest ( Primorsky Territory), the Mongolian toad (Irkutsk region) and the common toad (Leningrad region).

The driver is not always able to avoid hitting a wild animal, even by observing the speed limit: the animal often appears on the highway a few seconds before the collision. Such a meeting could end badly for the motorists themselves. In the Mezhdurechensky district of the Vologda region a month ago, a car crashed into a moose that suddenly appeared on the highway. The animal died and the driver and co-driver were taken to hospital.

The moose is the most dangerous animal for the driver due to the speed of movement and the huge weight.Photo: Vladimir Smirnov / TASS

In late February, in the Pustoshkinsky district of the Pskov region, a car, trying to avoid a collision with a moose, flew into the oncoming lane and crashed into a truck. The driver and the passenger died on the spot. Also the famous story Veronica Egorova, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the collision of her friend’s car with elk. The accident happened in 2014 and the girl, who suffered severe brain damage, a fracture of the base of the skull and a brain fracture, was in a coma for several months, which was replaced by a vegetative state. For several years now, Veronica has been struggling to regain the necessary life skills.

Statistics on wildlife deaths on the streets do not reflect the true picture. This conclusion was reached by experts from the Russian branch of Greanpeece, who prepared the exhibition “Death on the streets – an unknown tragedy of wild animals.” This is due to the complexity of recording demolished animals: often, drivers, trying to avoid fines and problems, either load a dead animal in the trunk and leave, or leave it on the side of the road, where predators quickly destroy all traces. .

A contribution to the safety of animals and people on the roads could be the construction of eco-pipelines – bridge, tunnel or pipe structures, which will be erected along the roads. In Europe, they appeared in the middle of last century, and in Russia – in 2016 in the Kaluga region. At the same time, GOST on requirements for ecological products in our country was developed relatively recently – in 2020. Developed by Avtodor. By law, eco-pipelines must be constructed in those sections of all expressways along which migratory routes and a stable concentration of fauna pass. You also need to consider the behavioral characteristics of the animals that live in the area and the nature of the landscape.

The eco-conductor allows wildlife to migrate freely across the road. Source: M-3 NEWS / YouTube

They are the eco-conductors that are considered the most appropriate solution to the problem. Creating obstacles of various types on the routes does not solve the problem. Cable fences, ubiquitous in Russia, began to be installed en masse after the 2014 experiment, when three federal highways (M-8 Kholmogory, A-104 Moscow – Dmitrov – Dubna and MMK Yaroslavsko-Gorkovskoye High) were equipped. The cables were then able to reduce the accident rate on these roads by 25 percent and their use was extended to another 14 areas.

A few years later, fence constructions made of composite materials were recognized as a more promising technology: they depend less on the parameters of the road. However, any fence can not completely eliminate the problem of wildlife on the track: deer and elk, for example, can jump one or two meters in height and smaller animals can crawl under the stop or the cable. In addition, if the animal is already on a fenced road, it may feel trapped and start rushing from side to side, only increasing the likelihood of dangerous situations. And the presence of solid fences along the entire length of the road leads to the creation of artificial isolation of populations between them.

In Russia, there are now pipelines on three routes: M-3 “Ukraine”, M-11 “Neva” and the main ring road in the Moscow region.

Last year, construction began on a bridge-type ecovolta at the 184th kilometer of the M-1 Belarus highway in the Gagarinsky district of the Smolensk region.

– The passage of animals will take place over the highway. The opening will be 50 meters wide and 76.15 meters long. To mimic the usual landscape, fertile ground will be poured into the approaches and the structure of the biotransport opening, grass will be sown and shrubs will be planted. Noise screens are provided to protect against noise and glare at night, Octagon.North-West told Avtodor State Corporation. The company also noted that construction is planned to be completed this year, but the animals usually do not immediately adapt to the new transition. For small species, this period is several months, but for deer, elk and deer – from one year to one and a half years.

Fences are used in addition to eco-conductors. They help guide the animals to a safe passage.

The press center of the FAA Science Center “RosdorNII” also spoke about innovative developments being introduced in the interior roads.

“In some parts of the M-1 motorway, an intelligent system is being piloted, as part of which radar sensors record the exit of an animal on the road and the data is sent to information boards with LED backlighting. “A flashing traffic light signals to drivers that an animal has appeared on the road.”

Evelina Vassilieva  Head of the Press Service Department of the Federal Autonomous Foundation
Evelina Vassilieva
Head of the Press Service Department of the Federal Autonomous Foundation “RosdorNII”

In the future, ecological canals could save more than one life, saving people and animals from sudden encounters on the streets. Thus, on the M-1 motorway in Belarus, thanks to integrated measures – the construction of pipelines, protective fences and warning systems – the number of accidents from 2019 to 2021 was reduced by half.

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