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Climate and Environment

The Earth Is Moving For The World’s Largest Wildlife Crossing

A gray roadway horizontal with white concrete barriers along both sides cuts through brown grass and green bushes as a construction worker sprays water on a wide patch of earth cut into the dirt side of the freeway.
A closeup view from the construction webcam of the Liberty Canyon Corridor site. After some project delays, bulldozers broke ground on Tuesday.
(Courtesy Living Habitats and National Wildlife Federation)
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At this time last year, the future site of the world’s largest wildlife crossing was… just a stretch of the 101 in Agoura Hills.

On Tuesday, the same spot was a hive of activity, as bulldozers carved up earth along the roadway to make way for the behemoth piece of infrastructure.

A bulldozer on the size of the road with fluffy clouds against a blue sky.
Bulldozers began carving up the side of the 101 Freeway on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, as part of a major step in the construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Agoura Hills.
(Courtesy Beth Pratt
/
National Wildlife Federation)

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon will, upon completion, provide safe passage across the freeway for animals, including endangered mountain lions.

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The 101 is the deadliest freeway for mountain lions in Greater L.A. More of the big cats have been struck and killed on this roadway than any other since the National Park Service began its study of the endangered species in 2002.

The earthwork marks a major milestone for the bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2025.

“I am standing here at the site right now looking at bulldozers going up and down a slope, heavy equipment that I couldn't even dream of driving,” said National Wildlife Federation’s California Executive Director Beth Pratt, who has helped spearhead the project. “People driving by, whether you're on the freeway or side roads, are really going to start seeing a difference.”

A gray roadway with white concrete barriers along both sides cuts vertically then horizontally through brown grass and green bushes as a construction worker sprays water on a wide patch of earth cut into the dirt side of the freeway.
(Courtesy savelacougars.org)

Pratt said it’s hard to hold back tears when talking about the crossing, but she can still get a laugh at some of the road bumps. Earlier this summer, work had to pause for several days because an acorn woodpecker was nesting on one of the site’s utility poles.

She’s been a champion for the project for over a decade — what’s a few days?

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