Construction is set to begin on the world's largest wildlife crossing, which will help animals move safely over the busy 101 Freeway in Los Angeles County. This bridge will stretch across 10 lanes of the freeway, mainly to help mountain lions cross from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Simi Hills. 

Work on the crossing starts overnight on weekdays, beginning next Monday.

Wildlife Crossing Over LA's 101 Freeway to Reconnect Natural Habitats
The world's largest wildlife crossing is being built in Los Angeles' 101 Freeway and it will be named "Wallis Annenberg Crossing."
(Photo : Screenshot image taken from CBS Sunday Morning on YouTube)

Building a Safer Path with the Largest Wildlife Crossing

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) started building this massive bridge in April 2022 and plans to finish by 2025. Once completed, the bridge will not just be the biggest wildlife crossing in the US but also the largest globally. 

It will be covered with soil and plants that match the local environment, helping it blend in and function effectively as a natural habitat.

CNN reports that this wildlife crossing is designed to solve a big problem: major highways like the 101 Freeway block animals from roaming freely, which hurts their ability to survive and reproduce. 

The bridge aims to connect different animal populations, which will help prevent problems caused by animals being too closely related, like poor health or fewer babies.

The need for this crossing became clear thanks to a famous mountain lion named P-22. He managed to cross two major highways but ended up trapped in a small, isolated area in Griffith Park. 

His struggles and eventual death highlighted the challenges that wildlife faces in urban settings.

Caltrans reports that the upcoming freeway closures will affect all southbound lanes from Cheseboro Road to Liberty Canyon Road starting at 11:59 p.m. Detours will be set up to guide drivers around the construction. 

The project is named after Wallis Annenberg, who has donated money and support through her foundation to make this wildlife crossing a reality.

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Connecting Wildlife Across Busy Road

In Los Angeles, a new wildlife crossing is under construction over the 101 Freeway to help protect local animals like mountain lions from the dangers of inbreeding and possible extinction. 

Named the Wallis Annenberg Crossing, it will be the world's largest bridge designed for animals, covering the freeway with natural habitats to safely connect wildlife across the busy road.

According to KCRW, the Caltrans-led project involves installing over 80 heavy girders to support a full ecosystem on the bridge, spanning the high-traffic area. This construction will cause weeknight road closures through late May. 

The crossing's design focuses on reducing noise from the freeway, using barriers to cut down on the sound by about 20 decibels, and planting dense foliage to dampen noise further.

To address lighting concerns, which can deter nocturnal animals, the project avoids overhead lights and uses shielded lighting to focus on the road, preventing light pollution. The concrete used is also mixed with a special pigment to reduce reflection from car headlights.

The ambitious design includes transplanting local plants and soil microorganisms to create a natural environment atop the bridge to restore ecological connections disrupted by the freeway. 

This innovative project, set to finish by late 2025 or 2026, could inspire similar wildlife crossings worldwide.

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