SR 240 Wildlife Restoration - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SR 240 Wildlife Restoration

RICHLAND, Wash. - If you've been in traffic along Highway 240 lately, you may have wondered, Why are there a bunch of sprinklers off the side of the road?

If you look off the road right before the Yakima River Bridge, you've got a big hole where the road is supposed to be and a sprinkler system that looks like it's watering mud.

Here's the idea, any time road crews destroy wildlife building a new road they need to replace what they tore out.

"If you come out there five to ten years you can't even tell we've been there. That's the whole idea. Make it all look natural," said Moe Davari, Washington State Dept. of Transportation.   

During the 240 expansion crews took out 10 acres of wetlands. Workers will soon start planting new wetland vegetation and the sprinklers will make sure the new shrubs have enough water during hot summer months.

State Fish and Wildlife staff said the new wetlands may even be better than the old ones.

"It probably is going to end up being an area with possibly even greater wildlife diversity," said Eric Bartrand, Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.    

As for all the dirt, underneath the road crews are creating animal crossing/flood spill way for the Yakima River. Animals won't get hurt crossing the street and flood waters will flow under the highway.

"That water will go right through this super span which is 30 feet wide, 14 feet high. So that it'll take a lot of water. It'll go right there and end up in the Columbia River," said Davari.