A Wildlife Bridge Over the 101 Moves Forward

The $30 million connection in Agoura Hills could save our local lions

Courtesy Steve Winter photography

A desperately-needed crossing over the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills is indeed feasible, according to a report issued Thursday by Caltrans.

The bridge would allow animals, including bobcats, foxes, deer, and mountain lions, safe passage from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Simi Hills. The bridge is especially imperative for the mountain lions, which are suffering not only from inbreeding, but also from deadly accidents, thanks to the eight-lane barrier slicing through their natural habitat. Since officials began tracking the local lions, 12 of the beauties have been killed on the freeway since 2002.

The Caltrans study, funded by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, envisions “a 165-foot wide by 200-foot long bridge spanning across the freeway with columns on spread footings in the freeway median and retaining walls on either end,” according to a MRCA statement.

So it resembles the lions’ habitat, drought-tolerant landscaping would cover the bridge and barriers would block out traffic noise and light. The project would cost $30 million, which considering the price of most human infrastructure, sounds like a steal. Funding details aren’t yet hammered out, but statewide funds and altruistic groups/individuals (click here to donate) will likely cover the cost. Actor Rainn Wilson is encouraging Angelenos to donate to the cause in the video below.

The next step is the $1 million environmental impact report, which is already funded thanks to the State Coastal Conservancy.