VALENTINE, Neb. -- Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side…of course.

“Most aquatic turtles will leave lakes and wetlands to lay their eggs,” Valentine National Wildlife Refuge Manager Juancarlos Giese said.

But in some areas of the Sandhills, you won’t spy many turtles crawling across the highway.

“This right here is our Valentine National Wildlife Refuge turtle fence," Giese said pointing to a fence along Highway 83.

The refuge has four different fences that prevent turtles from hitting the highway.

"They lead them to a culvert, so they can travel under the highway," Giese said. “The turtle fences were installed in the early 2000s due to the concern of the mortality of Blanding's turtles."

Blanding’s turtles are considered endangered in many states. The Sandhills of Nebraska are one of its last strongholds.

“The Blanding’s turtle is special to a lot of people just because it’s in trouble in so many places,” Mark Lindvall said.

Lindvall is a volunteer with Sandhills Prairie Refuge Association. The group is fixing areas of the fence that are damaged.

Unfortunately, Lindvall points out that a turtle not only got past the fence, but also lost her eggs.

“The turtle crawled through that hole, and made a nest here. Sometimes you can find the egg shells, but a raccoon came along, and ate the eggs," Lindvall said.

With the Blanding’s not breeding until they’re around 20 years old, this is a big loss.

However, thanks to these volunteers, many others could be saved.

“It’s a very busy highway. Researchers found out that after the fences were installed, it reduced the mortality of the Blanding's turtles by 66 percent,” Giese said.

The fences not only protect the turtles, but also drivers, who may swerve to try not to hit the animal.

“Also if a person does hit a turtle, the shell could actually ricochet into oncoming traffic. It’s known to cause accidents that way as well,” Giese said.