World’s Largest Wildlife Overpass Will Be Built Over 101 Freeway Near Los Angeles

Humans know to stop and look both ways before they cross the street. Sadly, animals are not aware or capable of this safety precaution. Collisions between cars and animals can harm both the traveling creatures and human passengers. Wildlife underpasses and overpasses are a great solution to this problem. With funneling fences, these routes provide safe crossing for species from bears to cougars to crabs. On April 22, 2022, the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) and partners will break ground on the largest wildlife crossing in the world across U.S. Route 101 near Los Angeles, California.

Urban sprawl around LA has created problems for wildlife. Cougars in particular have garnered attention. Their historic ranges have been curtailed by highways, housing developments, and other human constructions. As part of the #SaveLACougars movement, the NWF will break ground in April on the world's largest overpass dedicated to animal traffic. The grassy bridge is based on extensive research into threatened mountain lions in the area. The organization announced that the “crossing will also reconnect a long-fragmented ecosystem for all wildlife in an area recognized as one of only 36 biodiversity hotspots worldwide.” Cougars in the region could be saved from extinction.

Dubbed the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing for a very generous donor, the bridge will also benefit other species. Coyotes, deer, lizards, and snakes are all expected to use it. U.S. Route 101 is one of the busiest highways in the region with 10 teeming lanes. An estimated 300,000 cars will pass underneath daily. Animals like big cats will be largely spared this traffic and can travel over the 200-foot walkway all their own. The overpass' funding was inspired by P-22, a LA cougar who crossed two freeways and settled in Griffith Park. Now, other animals will not have to make this perilous journey to roam as nature intended.

On April 22, 2022, the National Wildlife Foundation and partners will break ground on the largest wildlife crossing in the world.

P35 Cougar

P-35, a cougar caught on camera near the Santa Susana Mountains northwest of Los Angeles. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Over a relatively undeveloped stretch of U.S. Route 101 near Los Angeles, the bridge will save countless animal lives—including cougars.

Wildlife Overpass in Banff

Wildlife overpass in Canada over the Trans-Canada Highway. (Photo: WikiPedant via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

h/t: [ABC Eyewitness News]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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