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Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

Use of fauna road-crossing structures in north-eastern New South Wales

Ian F. Hayes A B and Ross L. Goldingay A
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A School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Mammalogy 31(2) 89-95
Submitted: 22 February 2009  Accepted: 19 July 2009   Published: 15 October 2009


The vast network of roads around the world has had a significant effect on wildlife and ecosystems through habitat fragmentation, reduced dispersal and mortality by collision with vehicles. Road agencies worldwide now frequently install dedicated structures to facilitate the safe crossing of roads by wildlife. We conducted surveys to determine the use of dedicated wildlife overpasses and nearby underpasses at two locations on the Pacific Highway in north-eastern New South Wales. Road-kill surveys were conducted to provide some understanding of the species commonly killed and whether the rate of road-kill was lower at one location where crossing-structures were located. Use of the crossing-structures by wildlife was monitored with sand-transects. The most frequent users were macropods, bandicoots and rodents. Macropods made greater use of overpasses (n = 104 tracks) than underpasses (n = 36), whereas underpasses were used more by bandicoots (n = 87) and rodents (n = 82) than were overpasses (n = 28, n = 15, respectively). We identified 78 road-kills of 21 species on two sections of the Pacific Highway over a 7-week period. Bandicoots (n = 16) and macropods (n = 9) were the most frequently observed victims. The mortality of wildlife was lower along the highway section with the crossing-structures (0.04 road-kills km–1) than it was along the highway section without structures (0.15 road-kills km–1). The lack of replication precludes any firm conclusion that the crossing-structures reduced road mortality but the high level of use of the crossing-structures by species that were common victims of road-kill suggests an influence.

Additional keywords: animal–vehicle collisions, Isoodon macrourus, Wallabia bicolor, wildlife road-kill.


Thanks to John O’Donnell, RTA Grafton Office, for approving the study and for providing information. We are grateful for the contributions of Tony Browne (30 July 1968 – 9 March 2009), to whom this paper is dedicated, and Nick Francesconi and Ken Dingli (RTA), Peter Nehill and Stewart Thorp of Bilfinger Berger Services (Aust.) Pty Ltd (Abigroup), Mark Fitzgerald (Environmental Consultant, Mullumbimby) and Brendan Taylor. The comments of Al Glen and an anonymous referee helped improve this paper.


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