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SHARE THE ROAD: New signs aim to help Burnt Store drivers coexist with wildlife

102 animals of more than 20 species were killed on the road from July 2022 to Jan. 2023.
Posted at 9:59 PM, Mar 12, 2024

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Burnt Store Road has become a hot spot for an unfortunate problem: roadkill. The deaths, and local activists have prompted Charlotte County officials to install wildlife crossing signs, warning drivers about the animals.

Part of the road runs parallel with the Charlotte Harbor State Preserve, over 45,000 acres of natural habitats. A six month survey conducted by Ashley Cook, Director of the Alligator Creek Preserve at the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, documented the danger animals face when crossing road.

"We found over 102 wildlife deaths caused by vehicle strikes," said Cook. "The most frequent strikes happened with the raccoon population, but we also saw a lot of coyotes, bobcats, alligators and the most shocking were actually cows."

Opossum Road Kill
Roadkill on Burnt Store Road.

The data from the survey was presented to Charlotte County Commissioners on Feb. 8 at a Burnt Store Corridor Coalition meeting. BSCC represents over 11,000 homeowners in the area and have raised concerns about the affect new development will have on the wildlife.

After the meeting, District 5 Commissioner Joe Tiseo got to work on the signs, and they were installed weeks later.

"They made some really good points, the data is the data," said Tiseo. "So, I think this is a really good example of where local government is listening to their constituents and to people in that neighborhood."

Wildlife Crossing Signs
Wildlife crossing signs on Burnt Store Road.

John Flemming, a BSCC leader told Fox 4 that members were happy and impressed at the speed in which the signs were installed.

"The people who live in the area are ecstatic over this, they are very happy. I can tell you from talking to people in different communities that they are very pleased about how quickly they were able to address this issue."
John Flemming, BSCC

In addition to the signs, a wildlife crossing under the road that had been blocked and covered with debris was cleared by county workers.

While incidents of roadkill on Burnt Store is likely to continue, especially as more homes are developed along it, drivers should be aware and take note of the new wildlife crossing signs.