TORONTO AND NEW YORK, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - Can migrating wildlife such as
cougars and elk coexist with North America's high-speed superhighways?
Canadians will have special interest when an answer to that question is
presented in Washington, D.C., on January 23rd as the winner is announced in the first-ever competition of its kind
titled ARC: The International Wildlife Crossing Structure Design Competition.
The goal of this unique challenge -- issued to landscape architects,
transportation and structural engineers and ecologists worldwide -- is
to solve a worsening dilemma on roadways everywhere: dangerous
collisions between wildlife and vehicles. Its creators and sponsors
chose a site with real and serious problems of animal movement along
the heavily-travelled West Vail Pass on busy Interstate Highway 70 near the ski centre of Vail, Colorado.
I-70 bisects a critical habitat of a thick mountain forest heavily
populated with wide-ranging species including black bears, cougars,
bobcats and lynx, coyote, elk, deer and marten. In five spectacular
designs, landscape architects have created large, landscaped convex
arcs which appear as a habitat continuous with the surrounding forest
and promise to allow the wildlife species to move safely over I-70. The
five designs can be viewed by the public at the competition's website
While this competition focuses on the West Vail Pass, the applications
elsewhere are clear, as is the inspiration. Canada has long dealt with
the problem of wildlife/vehicle collisions and the system of crossings
near Banff, Alberta is viewed as among the world's best and most
successful. There are now 41 crossing structures along 75 km of
highways including six overpasses. Alberta wildlife ecologist and
research scientist Tony Clevenger, who is one of the world-renowned jurors for the competition, says ARC
is intended to inspire imitation worldwide. "Banff is the world leader
in wildlife crossings but they're in a static mould and the price of
the structures keeps going up and up. The ideas brought forward in this
competition are making us think about how to build these structures in
In the U.S., the always-dangerous crashes between wildlife and motor
vehicles have grown by 50 per cent in the last 15 years, according to
the Federal Highway Administration, with estimates as high as two
million collisions annually and a staggering cost both financially and
to human health and safety. Canada is also seriously challenged by the
problem. Crossings for wildlife have also been created throughout
Europe and in Asia and Australia. It is expected the winning design of
the ARC competition will inspire other structures as well as
revolutionize and popularize the notion of crossing structures given
the exacting criteria which include cost-effectiveness, ecological
sensitivity, sustainability and high standards of human and animal
Among the five finalists, who will each be awarded $15,000 for the
excellence of their designs, are the teams lead by Toronto Landscape
Architecture firm, Janet Rosenberg & Associates and the team headed by HNTB Engineering with Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates of New York. Both Rosenberg and Van Valkenburgh are engaged in the
revitalization of Toronto's waterfront. The first prize design team will be awarded $40,000.
The ARC competition has already inspired those concerned with wildlife
and with transportation to look for a better future for both migrating
wildlife and for the travelling public whose roadways compromise
habitat and are exposed to dangerous collisions. Parks Canada has
expressed interest in the five finalists submissions to help in the
design of new wildlife crossings over key sections along the
Trans-Canada Highway through the Canadian Rockies. The competition
attracted entries from 36 teams drawing on the expertise of 100
professional firms spanning nine countries world-wide.
A presentation by the five finalists and the selection of the winner
will held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 pm on Sun. Jan. 23 during a special
workshop as part of the Transportation Research Board's 90th Annual Meeting which attracts more than 12000 transportation
specialists from around the world. The event is held in the Cordozo
Room of the Washington Hilton near Dupont Circle, 1919 Connecticut
Avenue, Washington, DC.
FACT SHEET ON ARC COMPETITION (See www.arc-competition.com for complete lists, background materials, photos)
Competition is backed by more than 25 major organizations in the US and
Canada providing a wide range of services including leadership, funding,
research, and public endorsement. Organizations include the Woodcock
Foundation; Western Transportation Institute at Montana State
University; Edmonton Community Foundation; US Dept of Transportation;
US Forestry Service; US. Dept of the Interior, Bureau of Indian
Affairs; Western Environmental Law Centre; Y to Y (Yellowstone to
Yukon); Canadian Pacific; Parks Canada; and the Western Governors'
Wildlife Council, to name only a few.
Five Finalists teams are led by the following firms. Complete list of team members and illustrated versions of their
submissions are on the ARC Competition website. www.arc-competition.com/finalists.php.
Balmori Associates, New York
The Olin Studio, Philadelphia
Janet Rosenberg & Associates, Toronto
HNTB Engineering with Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, New York
Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Amsterdam
Members of the Jury are:
Charles Waldheim (Jury Chair), John E. Irving Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture, Harvard
University, Graduate School of Design.
Tony Clevenger, Senior Research Scientist, Western Transportation Institute, Montana
State University and Principal Researcher effects of roads on wildlife
in the Canadian Rockies including Banff National Park.
Jane Wernick, Structural Engineer and Director of Jane Wernick Associates, London.
Well-known throughout the US, Britain and Europe and taught at
architectural schools including Harvard.
William L. Withuhn, Curator Emeritus of the History of Technology and Transportation,
Jane Wolff, Associate Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture, John H.
Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture and Design, University of
Professional Advisor to ARC International Design Competition:
Nina-Marie Lister is Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard
University's Graduate School of Design and Associate Professor in the
School of Urban + Regional Planning at Ryerson
Special Design Requirements of site location on interstate I-70:
Highest elevation along I-70 in American Rockies • steep grades • heavy
snow loads • severe weather • construction during busy recreational and
commercial traffic on six-lane highway • light rail line • bike trail •
multiple large and smaller animal species • highest number of recorded
animal crossings in the area •native vegetative cover.
SOURCE Western Transportation - Montana State University
For further information:
For further information and interview requests: please contact
Canadian contact: Diana Crosbie, President, Crosbie Communications Inc.
US Contact: Rob Ament, ARC Project Manager, Western Transportation Institute
firstname.lastname@example.org (cell) 406-600-6348; (w) 406-994-6423;