JACKSON, Wyo. \u2014 The feds helped the Cowboy State double-down on wildlife crossings with grant money targeted for an underpass on US 189\u2014a busy migration corridor in western Wyoming.\r\n\r\nThe Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will receive a $14.5 million federal grant from the U.S Department of Transportation for a wildlife crossing project north of La Barge in southwest Wyoming. The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant for the Dry Piney wildlife crossing project will be used for underpasses, fencing and related improvements along a 19-mile stretch of US 189 between La Barge and Big Piney.\r\n\r\n\u201cWyoming has demonstrated leadership in protecting wildlife as they migrate,\u201d Governor Mark Gordon said. \u201cSimilar efforts the state has engaged in have not only benefited wildlife, but saved motorists as well. Projects like this one draw national attention to our state\u2019s efforts to support wildlife health, and also open the door for federal funding of similar projects.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe crossings and fencing will provide a safer means of travel for motorists while ensuring wildlife can continue to use historic migration routes.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis grant will enable us to continue our work on the Dry Piney project, which will help us reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions on our roads,\u201d said WYDOT Director Luke Reiner. \u201cThis project is important to Wyoming because it will improve highway safety for all.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Dry Piney project will help the Wyoming Range mule deer herd, as well as pronghorn and moose movement.\r\n\r\n\u201cWildlife is valuable to Wyoming, and this project is an investment that helps preserve the historic migration of many big game species,\u201d said Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director. \u201cUnderpasses, coupled with fencing, can reduce crashes by 80-90% and ensure animals can safely cross roads to get to seasonal ranges.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe total cost of all phases of the project is expected to be between $12 and $36.5 million.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis funding will help us keep Wyoming\u2019s roads safer for everyone,\u201d said WYDOT Chief Engineer Shelby Carlson. \u201cWYDOT, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other stakeholders have been studying this issue and have identified several areas in the state where improvements need to be made. Dry Piney is one of those areas and this grant will help us make those vital improvements.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn addition to the $14.5 million BUILD grant, the Wyoming Transportation Commission and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission both contributed $1.25 million for a total of $2.5 million toward the Dry Piney project.\r\n\r\nWYDOT will also receive other funding for wildlife conservation projects. A Casper-area family recently donated $25,000 toward wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation, and other donations are in the works.