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Ga. Plans Tunnels as Safe Road Crossings for Bears | News

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Ga. Plans Tunnels as Safe Road Crossings for Bears
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JEFF MARTIN, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia transportation officials are planning to add a half-dozen bear tunnels beneath a highway in what will be a first-of-its-kind project for the state.

According to a 2010 news release, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources estimates some 300 bears thrive in and around the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the Ocmulgee and Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Areas.

Jeremy Busby, a project manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation, says preliminary plans have already been completed.

He says the state is now buying land along State Route 96.

Busby says the idea is similar to wildlife crossings designed for endangered panthers in Florida and other structures in some parts of the western U.S. They allow animals to cross beneath the highway without being struck by the cars and trucks zooming by overhead.

Georgia has bears in three areas: the north Georgia mountains; the Okefenokee Swamp; and along the Ocmulgee River in central Georgia. 

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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