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MfD: Wildlife crossings costly, dysfunctional

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Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) – The average price of Czech wildlife crossings is often higher than in other European countries and they are often built so badly that they hardly serve their original purpose, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
The average price was an estimated 250 million crowns per one “ecoduct” or the bridge for animals, MfD writes.
There are seven ecoducts built especially on the 20 kilometres of the by-pass road around Prague. The wildlife crossings there contributed to the Prague Ring becoming the most expensive motorway in the Czech Republic, MfD writes.
The price per one kilometre has exceeded one billion crowns.
However, even the most fervent environmentalists are wondering what big mammals are ready to enter the area of the Czech capital, it adds.
The deer, for whom the Czech ecoducts are primarily built, will hardly ever do so, MfD writes.
“Unfortunately, some Czech ecoducts do not maximally fulfil their local functions and their design is not quite appropriate,” Jan Sima, director of the species protection department at the Environment Ministry, is quoted as saying.
“The causes vary. In some cases, the animal migration and landscape ties were not sufficiently evaluated in the projects. Other alternatives such as passages were not taken into consideration, too,” Sima said.
There are some green bridges in the Czech Republic that were designed in a right place, but no one watched what would be going on around them. Due to this, their function has gradually vanished, MfD writes.
This is exemplified by the animal bridge over the D6 motorway near Jenisovice, West Bohemia.
It was designed on a migration path from the Ore Mountains to the interior of the country, but due to the construction of a road, the accessibility of the area improved. Instead of animals, now it attracts investors, MfD writes.
Next to the bridge, there is now a large shopping mall, which, naturally, deters the animals from the wild from entering the ecoduct, it adds.
There are also ecoducts which may be functional, but their location or design are far from being optimal, MfD writes.
This is exemplified by a bridge near Nova Hospoda, south Bohemia, located near a flyover. Besides, the exit from it leads to a steep incline, it adds.
“Nevertheless, the animals still use it for the migration from the area around the Orlik Water Reservoir to the Strakonice region,” Sima said.
Some time ago, the Road and Motorway Directorate (RSD) admitted that out of the first ten to twelve such constructions, most are good for nothing, he added.
At present, a number of expert organisations assess the projects. The investors seem to have taken a lesson from the past mistakes, MfD writes.
The prepared ecoducts over the oldest Czech motorway D1 almost exclusively follow up the deep forests of the Vysocina Region, it adds.
($1 = 24,074 crowns)

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