An unfenced area along the Trans-Canada Highway has proven problematic resulting in frequent collisions involving vehicles and wildlife, particularly elk and bears, and advocates say not enough is being done to save lives.

There is currently a single wildlife underpass in the approximately 42 kilometre stretch of highway between the Banff Park gates and the Kananaskis River and no wildlife overpasses.

“My neighbour saw a bear killed just earlier this week,” said Jodi Hilty, president and chief scientist for the Yellowstone to Yukon conservation initiative. “We’ve seen elk killed. It’s an area where we frequently see animals hit and killed by cars, but also, people are getting hurt in those accidents as well.”

“We think that both for people and for wildlife, certainly in the context of Yellowknife to Yukon, keeping this area connected is going to be important.”

According to the provincial government, a consultant was hired in July to develop the design and location for a new wildlife crossing in the area where approximately 50 collisions with large mammals occur each year. The consultant’s report is expected to be submitted in early 2019.

Should a wildlife overpass be built in the region, it would be the first to be erected in Alberta outside of a national park.

With files from CTV’s Bill Macfarlane