Rare circumstances prompted Utah’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to close a six-mile stretch of Interstate 80 after a herd of elk was discovered in the middle of the roadway.

A herd of an originally estimated six to 24 elk was reported to have been camped out in the median of the Interstate for a number of days, causing a great deal of concern to both the DOT and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

Scott Root with DWR said, “The median is sizable, and there’s scrub oak and grass and so they felt comfortable like a sanctuary, but we needed for public safety reasons we wanted them off of there.”

In an attempt to move these animals out of harm’s way, about two dozen DWR vehicles and a Department of Public Safety helicopter were on sight and immediately began trying to corral the elk and move them to safety.

After about a 30 minute ordeal, officials managed to move six of the elk along with a moose up into the nearby hills.

Two elk remain on the median.  Officials plan to keep a close eye on them and ask motorists to use caution through the area until they have vacated their dangerous sanctuary in the middle of the interstate.


Featured Image:  Utah DWR
Video Footage: Utah Department of Transportation