Fence fixes falling deer dilemma

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter


HILLSVILLE — Within two weeks, the danger from above the new U.S. 58 bypass should be alleviated at the Howlett Street bridge.
Workers from New Valley Fence of Greenville recently began installing a safety fence on the 60-foot-tall bridge, where eight deer had plummeted to their deaths through January, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Jason Bond.
Town officials feared what might happen when the bypass fully opened to traffic this fall, had the problem not been addressed.
Some of the falling deer landed on the roadway, so there was some worry about what would happen if they hit passenger vehicles from above.
The Virginia Department of Transportation put $55,378 for materials and labor towards the safety fence.
DLB hired the subcontractor to do the work, which is expected to be completed within two weeks of the start date.
Bond noted that the fence is eight feet, seven inches tall and stretches for 800 feet on both sides of the bridge.
Officials believe that the deer that jumped attempted to cross the bridge, but got spooked when vehicles approached.
“The fences should channel them when they have to enter and exit the bridge,” Bond said. “It should stop them from jumping off.”
Money for the fence came out of the bypass construction funds.