Transportation Engineering

Highways — Rural Highways

Key Deer Preservation

FDOT — District 6
Transportation Engineering
Project Overview
EAC Consulting Inc. (EAC) provided roadway and structural design services including innovative designs to develop a comprehensive system that restricted key deer access on US-1.  This was achieved while maintaining traffic and with sensitivity to the residents and the environmental needs of the area’s flora and fauna.  EAC designed two underpasses (one on a curve), at MM31.5 and MM32.5.  The high mortality rate at these locations as well as electronic deer tracking indicated that these were the most utilized crossing points. Both underpasses are concrete bridge structures with a crossing width of 25 feet and a height of 8 feet.  The dimensions were set by researchers who studied the deer and determined these dimensions would provide the deer with a sense of safety and comfort, thereby, encouraging the use of the crossing. To direct the Key Deer to the underpasses and prevent them from accessing US-1, vinyl-covered, chain link fencing, 8 feet in height, was placed along the corridor 4 inches off the ground to allow movement of the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit.  EAC also designed deer guards consisting of steel grid decking, customized to the width of the roadway and 25 feet in length.  They were installed at the four side roads that intersect US-1 and one across US-1 to prevent the deer from accessing the corridor.  EAC created a “deer path”, which ran outside and parallel to the fencing, to guide and influence the Key Deer to utilize the underpasses. Also included was the design of widening and resurfacing plans for one mile of US-1 in the urban section of Big Pine Key.  The widening provided an auxiliary lane through this section to improve the safety of the corridor. Recipient of a Florida Transportation Builders Association (FTBA) Best in Construction Award and a AASHTO Environmental Stewardship Award.