LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Southern California is famous for its freeway and now it is one-step closer to building a major thoroughfare … just for wildlife.
An $87-million wildlife bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills entered its final design stage. If approved, the overpass would stretch 200 feet over 10 lanes of traffic, and would be equipped with vegetative landscapes.
“They’re not just bridges,” Beth Pratt with the National Wildlife Federation told KCAL9’s Carter Evans. “The animals have to feel safe.”
“If we don’t provide connectivity, they can’t get dates outside their families,” said Pratt. “Like all of us, the 405 divide has killed many a romance.”
Since the National Park Service started tracking mountain lions in 2002, 18 have died trying to cross freeways and other secondary roads. Without the overpass, animals have been forced to take risks.
So far, the National Wildlife Federation has raised more than $13 million from private donors, and they’re confident they’ll raise the next $50-$60 million.
Completion of the overpass is set for 2023.
“We’re going to inspire the world,” said Pratt. “That many people are going to drive under this and know what’s possible in LA. If LA can do it, nobody else has an excuse.”