Since 1970, the world population of wild animals has declined some 68%, the Living Planet Index finds, due to climate change, human encroachment on habitat, and other factors. Soon, some lucky critters in Southern California will have access to much more viable territory, The Week reports. A major infrastructure project, the Wallis Annenberg wildlife crossing, will relink the Santa Monica Mountains, the Simi Hills, and the Santa Susana Mountains, long severed by the busy 101 freeway. The effort is being led by Caltrans, with the National Wildlife Federation as a fundraising partner and Chicago-based Living Habitat as designer.
The approximately 200-foot-long vegetated overpass will allow bobcats, coyotes, deer, foxes, mountain lions, and other animals to safely avoid the 300,000 vehicles that use the 10-lane 101 each day. The $87 million structure, purportedly the world’s largest of its kind, broke ground in April and should be completed in 2025. The Annenberg Foundation pledged some $25 million toward an anticipated $87 million construction cost.