California Will Build the Largest Wildlife Crossing in the World

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing will be the largest structure of its kind the World!

The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing will be a 200-foot-long bridge over the 101 Freeway and is expected to provide safe passage for lions, coyotes, deer, lizards, snakes and other wild creatures. The structure is on track for groundbreaking within the next two years and slated to open by 2023.

As a rule, wild animals and highways do not mix. That’s why California is planning a new structure 35 Miles north of Los Angeles in the City of Agoura Hills. The animal overpass set to stretch over Los Angeles’ 101 Freeway has entered its final design phase.

80 percent of the funds needed to construct the $87 million bridge will come from private sources, while the remaining 20 percent will be drawn from public funds allocated toward conservation campaigns.

Wildlife corridors and crossings have an obvious benefit for the animals that make use of them, but they can also help keep humans safe.

The size and location of Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing poses its own series of challenges, but it may also help jumpstart the local population of one particular species. By connecting solitary big cats like the famous P-22 of Griffith Park, with other members of the species, the Liberty Canyon overpass could curb mountain lion inbreeding and reintroduce genetic diversity to local populations.

P-22 of Griffith Park

Some 300,000 cars a day travel that stretch of the 101 in Agoura Hills, a small city surrounded by a patchwork of protected wildland that the new crossing will connect.

Drivers on the busy freeway in the Liberty Canyon area might do a double-take as they speed under a bridge 165 feet wide above 10 lanes of busy highway. The bridge is landscaped with brush and trees growing on top, seamlessly joining hillsides on both sides of the lanes. Ideally the animals will never know they’re on a bridge.

Banff National Park Animal Crossing

Wildlife crossings — bridges and tunnels — are common in western Europe and Canada . The Trans-Canada Highway wildlife crossings in Banff National Park have served as science-based inspiration for averting animal deaths on roads all over the globe.

The first one in California opened with little fanfare last October near Temecula, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of San Diego .

The establishment of the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing promises to be a win for science, a benefit for animals and a way to keep more humans safe—not a bad outcome for all parties involved.