Huge wildlife bridge project to kick off near Los Angeles

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On Earth Day, earth will be dumped for a bridge over California’s Highway 101 in the Los Angeles area for wildlife.

The first groundbreaking is scheduled for Friday, April 22 for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. It will span eight freeway lanes plus two exit lanes. It is 200 feet long and 165 feet wide.

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing is considered one of the largest urban wildlife crossings in the United States. It will connect the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“As the largest wildlife crossing of its type in the world, it will provide vital habitat connectivity for a wide range of animals for decades to come,” Wade Crowfoot, California Secretary of Natural Resources, said in a statement. press release from the National Wildlife Federation. . “It also shows us what is possible when unique partners come together to think creatively, then act boldly and decisively. I think we will look back decades and realize that this project has galvanized a new era of conservation. and reconnection to nature.

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing will connect Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. and cross California Highway 101. (Courtesy of Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy)

A roaming cougar in the area captured the media’s attention and the public’s imagination. It is called P22. A #SaveLACougars campaign was conducted and the website SaveLACougars.org created.

The project was a collaboration of Caltrans, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation issued a $25 million challenge grant to help fund the project. The bridge has also been called Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing.

The $87 million project is expected to be completed in 2025.

Caltrans is also considering wildlife crossings on US 101 in Conejo Valley and Rocky Peak and Moorpark on State Route 118.

Other wildlife crossing structures

It may be the newest and largest wildlife crossing in the United States, but the cougar crossing California’s Highway 101 isn’t the only one.

Here are other drivers likely to cross on the highway.

In western Colorado, two wildlife overpasses, five underpasses, and fences with “escape ramps” for trapped animals were built on State Highway 9. It was completed in 2016. A new wildlife overpass is planned for US Highway 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs.

In Nevada, nine crossings (bridges and tunnels) were installed on I-80 between Wendover and Wells and US 93 north of Wells in northeastern Nevada to reduce vehicle-animal collisions. The project was completed in 2018.

In Utah, the Parleys Summit Wildlife Overpass crosses I-80 between Salt Lake City and Park City. It was completed in 2018. Utah completed the first wildlife overpass in the United States in 1975 on I-15 near Beaver. Since, over 60 wildlife crossings were installed throughout the state. Many of them are tunnels or underground passages.

In Washington, a total of 27 wildlife passage structures more than 15 miles are included in plans for the Snoqualmie Pass project on I-90, part of a $1 billion freeway renovation slated for completion by 2029.

In 2012, the Wyoming DOT completed an $11 million project with two wildlife overpasses, six underpasses, and approximately 12 miles of fencing that direct animals to these safe passages above or below the highway. A dedicated website live video stream of traffic at Trappers Point Wildlife Overpass. LL

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