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NC building routes for animals to cross roads.

WILMINGTON, N.C. — North Carolina transportation officials hope the addition of crossings under a new interstate highway will cut down on wrecks and protect animals.

The Star-News of Wilmington reported the transportation department plans to add crossings under a new stretch of Interstate 140, which crosses largely undeveloped land around Leland.

The plan calls for two underpasses just for wildlife and a smaller wildlife tunnel. They also will lengthen four bridges on the four-lane highway. Parts of the estimated $400 million road will be lined with 10-foot-tall fences to funnel animals toward the crossings.

Officials are most worried about black bears. But they say similar crossings and fences on a new road between the Raleigh area and the Outer Banks has reduced the number of deer-vehicle wrecks.