Biologists have long viewed Southern California's crisscrossing system of highways as insurmountable barriers that hinder the natural movement of mountain lions and other wildlife. These unintentional barriers are one of the leading causes of mountain lion deaths in that region of the state due to automobile accidents as well as intraspecies fights over territory within these man-made islands of habitat.
To help rectify the problem, and to reduce wildlife-related automobile accidents, Caltrans announced Saturday their plan to build either a $2 million bridge, or an underpass, at a key section of the 101 Freeway to link two fingers of state parkland just west of Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills.
"The new crossing will better integrate the environment and transportation systems, fostering better wildlife connectivity on either side of the 101 and increasing public safety by reducing the risk for collisions between vehicles and wildlife," said Carrie Bowen, the Caltrans director for Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Caltrans officials believe that a "wildlife corridor" bridge would be used by mountain lions and other wildlife because tracking devices have detected lions crossing back and forth in a similar situation over the Reagan (118) Freeway on a little-used road overpass at Rocky Peak.
The construction project which was originally priced at $10 million will be paid for by a design grant from the federal government's infrastructure funding program.