Roads and highways are a great danger to animals. They divide their territories and often prevent animals from migrating. This problem can be easily solved and that is the transition for animals. The world’s largest wildlife overpass – the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing – will begin construction across a multi-lane highway at Liberty Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains.
Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing
It is a bridge that is 165 feet wide and 210 feet long. The bridge will have lush vegetation and allow animals to cross the U.S. Highway 101, which is near Los Angeles, comfortably and safely. This bridge will be surrounded by sound walls covered with vegetation, which will protect the animals from noise and light from the highway. The bridge will help mountain lions, coyotes, other mammals and reptiles to cross the highway safely.
“The freeway is a formidable and virtually impenetrable barrier for many wildlife species including mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, and mule deer that inhabit and travel between these two mountain ranges,” the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy said in a press release. “For mountain lions in particular, the consequences of this restriction results in increased inbreeding and territorial fighting, and very low genetic diversity, within the Santa Monica Mountains.”
Great help for wild animals
This bridge is expected to be completed in early 2025. About 60 percent of the funds to cross the wild came from private donations. Around 300,000 cars pass through this area every day.
“Someone could be in rush-hour traffic, and there could be a mountain lion right above them,” said project planner and urban ecologist with the National Wildlife Federation Beth Pratt, according to The Guardian. “I think it’s such a hopeful image, and one that inspires me that we can right some of these great wrongs.”
It can take some years for some animals to get used to crossing the bridge. Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary success that such a project was created. It could also become an inspiration for other places where it prevents wild animals from moving on the highway.
“As both a tool for and a symbol of connection, [the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing] will stand as an alluring challenge to future generations to pick up the mantle of design to bridge the gaps elsewhere in our world,” said design leader and landscape architect with Chicago’s Living Habitats Robert Rock, as reported by The Guardian.
Credit: Living Habitats and National Wildlife Federation