'Critter shelf' helps wildlife cross New York road

BOONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York state Department of Transportation and The Nature Conservancy are testing a new "critter shelf" installed in a highway culvert to help wildlife cross safely.

The structure was installed this summer inside a 138-foot-long, 14-foot-tall culvert beneath Route 12 south of Boonville, in central New York. The steel walkway suspended above water in the culvert allows bobcats and other animals that don't swim to safely cross the busy highway.

Route 12 was identified as a significant barrier to wildlife movement between important habitat areas. The Nature Conservancy is using trail cameras to monitor the walkway's effectiveness.

The shelf was shipped to New York from Montana, where it's been successfully used.

The DOT is also using other structures to aid wildlife crossings, such as turtle fencing adjacent to Route 30 in the Adirondacks.

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