The five designs for animal bridges you see here are finalists from over 100 entries for the ARC Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design competition sponsored by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State. The competition is looking for "next generation" wildlife crossing designs, something that ups the ante over the tunnels, underpasses and bridges already in use by Canada to give back some migratory to our quad-pedal cousins. The organizers even picked a real stretch of Interstate 70 in Colorado called the Vail Pass as its theoretical location.
We won't belabor you with descriptions of each finalist's design, as all are basically a similar take on an interstate-spanning bridge topped by the topography and flora of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Our vote, however, goes to The Olin Studio's entry (above) that sharply curves up the edges of the crossing to allow more light under the bridge as well as shield animals from the sights and sounds of traffic passing underneath.
Regardless of your favorite, don't expect to see any of these designs crossing Colorado's I-70 anytime soon, as the winner of the competition, which will be announced January 23, wins nothing but bragging rights. The Colorado Department of Transportation doesn't have the money to build a wildlife crossing here, but promises to pre-qualify the winning design for consideration if it ever does. Even so, the high-res gallery below is certainly worth a look, if only to check out some really interesting infrastructure design.