Earlier this week, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority released a long-awaited study by Caltrans concluding that building the nation's largest wildlife "bridge" over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills was feasible.
Projected to cost $33 million to $38 million, the 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass, complete with drought-tolerant vegetation, near Liberty Canyon Road would connect the Santa Monica Mountains on the south with the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.
If built, it could reduce the number of young mountain lions currently being killed as they tried to disperse and establish home territories. Over the past 13 years, around a dozen lions have been hit and killed by automobiles in this same general area.
Liberty Canyon has long been considered as the optimal location to build a wildlife corridor because of the large swaths of protected public land on either side of the freeway.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority report was the necessary first step toward a final design. Caltrans will now begin preparing the required environmental document, funded by a $1-million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy. The public will be asked to present comments during that phase, which runs through 2017.