US-101 – Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon

Location

In the city of Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County, west of Liberty Canyon Road

The Project

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will be a vegetated bridge across U.S. Highway 101 (the Ventura Freeway). It will be the largest wildlife crossing of its type in the nation.

Background

US-101 separates the Santa Monica Mountains to the south from the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains to the north. US-101 is a formidable and virtually impenetrable barrier for many wildlife species including mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes and mule deer that inhabit and travel between these two mountain ranges. In particular, mammals with large home ranges such as mountain lions and bobcats need large connected habitats to hunt, breed and thrive. The construction of US-101 divided this previously continuous habitat range into isolated habitat fragments and resulted in severely restricted movement between the two mountain ranges. For mountain lions in particular, the consequences of this restriction results in increased inbreeding, territorial fighting and very low genetic diversity within the Santa Monica Mountains.

Benefits

The wildlife crossing is critical in the linkage between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Sierra Madre Range. Preserving and enhancing this linkage is essential for sustaining wildlife populations. This crossing will provide a safe and sustainable passage for wildlife across US-101 that reduces wildlife-vehicle collisions and wildlife mortality, allows for the safe movement of animals and the exchange of genetic material for wildlife survival.

Dimensions

The length of the bridge is about 210 feet. The width is about 175 feet, or enough to accommodate about five to six lanes in each direction if the bridge were designed to carry traffic.

Schedule

The project will be constructed in two stages. In Stage 1, the scope of work includes only the vegetated bridge structure over US-101 and supporting roadway items within Caltrans right of way. The construction is anticipated to start in summer 2022 and be completed in fall 2024. In Stage 2, the scope of work includes a tunnel/bridge over Agoura Road; a tunnel/bridge structure over the service road Vendell Place to serve as a utility tunnel; and fill, grade and landscape between the bridge over US-101 and the tunnel over Agoura Road. The schedule for Stage 2 is being developed.

Total Programmed Project Costs

$88 Million (approximately)

FAQs

Q: What is the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing project?

A: The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is a vegetated bridge across U.S. Highway 101 (the Ventura Freeway) west of Liberty Canyon Road in the city of Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

Q: Will this project close the freeway at any time?

A: Freeway lanes in both directions will remain open during the day through most of the duration of the project. Some lanes will be closed at night. The contractor will be allowed to close all lanes of the freeway (in one direction) on a few nights to place large girders for the bridge, with detours provided for motorists.

Q: Will this project be noisy at night?

A: Noise levels near project areas will be the same level as ordinary freeway traffic and should not disturb neighborhoods nearby. Caltrans will monitor noise levels during construction to minimize the impact to local neighborhoods. If you experience excessive noise or dust related to this construction project, please contact Caltrans.

Q: What are the sources of funds for this project?

A: Major funding for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is provided by the Annenberg Foundation, Wallis Annenberg and other private donations, and by the California Wildlife Conservation Board. Additional funding is provided by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the California State Coastal Conservancy, the State of California, foundations and individual contributors through the #SaveLACougars campaign, a collaborative effort of the National Wildlife Federation and the Santa Monica Mountains Fund.

Q: Where can I find more information about the fundraising for this project?

A: Please visit https://savelacougars.org

Contact Information

To receive email updates about this project, contact the Caltrans representative shown below.

Michael Comeaux
Public Information Officer
Cell/text: (213) 500-5840
Michael.Comeaux@dot.ca.gov

Caltrans – District 7
Twitter @CaltransDist7