CONTACT:
Kristine Bontaites, (603) 744-5470
CO Samuel Sprague, (603) 271-3361
Jane Vachon, (603) 271-3211
September 16, 2005


Study Group Looks at Reducing Moose-Vehicle Collisions in Franconia Notch Area

CONCORD, N.H. -- Motorists heading north out of Franconia Notch in New Hampshire will soon see a new sign alerting them to the dangers of car-moose collisions. The New Hampshire Highway Safety Administration is providing the portable sign, which will post a safety message warning drivers to use caution and reduce their speed because they are entering an area of high moose activity. The sign will be unveiled at a press event on Monday, September 19, 2005, at 1:30 p.m. at Exit 34-C off I-93 just north of Franconia Notch.

"The purpose of the sign is to alert motorists to an area where there has been a high incidence of car-moose collisions," explained Kristine Bontaites, the moose project leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "Moose routinely cross the roadway, which is a high-speed section of Interstate 93, attracted by browse in nearby clearcuts and natural swampy areas, and deposits of roadside salt."

The initiative to post the sign grew out of the work of a grass-roots committee analyzing moose-vehicle accidents on I-93 between Franconia Notch and Littleton, and on Route 3 north to Whitefield, and exploring ways to reduce these incidents. Spearheaded by Dr. Campbell McLaren of Littleton Regional Hospital, the study group includes Executive Counselor Raymond Burton, N.H. Fish and Game staff, and representatives from New Hampshire Highway Safety Administration and the N.H. Department of Transportation.

"There's no question that the best way to reduce personal injury and human fatalities in moose-vehicle collisions is to increase visibility so people can see the moose, and, above all, to get people to slow down," said Bontaites. "If you drive 55 mph or less, you're much more likely to walk away from a moose-vehicle collision."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlilfe and marine resources and their habitats.

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