Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Fauna Bridges across the Hume Fwy.
The Hume Freeway is a divided carriage-way from Melbourne to the NSW border, a distance of ca.350km. Along it’s length, the freeway (with an easement between 50 and 100m wide) cuts through remnant vegetation and natural corridors, such as Reef Hills near Benalla and numerous tree-lined streams, such as Faithfull’s Creek. The freway constitutes a significant barrier to wildlife, particularly arboreal mammals like possums and gliders.
In 2007 two ‘fauna bridges’ were erected to provide safe transit, from one side of the freeway to the other, for arboreal mammals. Several species are known from the area:
Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosusrus vulpecula), Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps), Squirrel Glider (P. norfolkensis) and Brush-tail Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa). There are two rope bridge sites – Cemetery Rd, Violet Town and Detour Rd, Longwood. These are being monitored through trapping surveys and motion-triggered cameras on the bridge. And at three other sites gliding poles have been erected – Balmattum, Baddaginnie and Warrenbayne Rd.
The project is a collaborative effort between Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology , Monash University, Melbourne University, VicRoads, Australian Research Council, and the Roads and Transport Authority (NSW).
The bridges are essentially rope-ladders and attached to high posts at either end, with ‘feeder ropes’ connecting to native vegetation.
If you’re interested in background research, design and installation, as well as the most recent usage statistics on the rope bridges read about HIGHWAY IMPACTS ON ARBOREAL MAMMALS AND THE USE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF NOVEL MITIGATION TECHNIQUES.