Los Angeles-area wildlife crossing over freeway expected to be ready in 2026

The crossing will be a vegetated overpass that will help isolated animals safely cross U.S. 101.
Wildlife Crossing Southern California
Posted at 9:06 AM, May 28, 2024

California officials have announced that construction for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in the Los Angeles area is expected to be completed in early 2026.

The wildlife crossing's construction continues after P-22, a beloved mountain lion that lived in the Hollywood Hills despite being surrounded by development, died in late 2022.

Wildlife officials captured P-22 in December 2022 after he exhibited changing behaviors. Before his capture, he reportedly attacked a person. It is also believed that a car struck P-22. The mountain lion was subsequently euthanized.

The crossing will be a vegetated overpass that will help isolated animals safely cross U.S. 101.

Giant panda Yun Chuan in the Sichuan province of China.

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The wildlife crossing is being funded through a public-private partnership. More than $34 million has been provided by the private sector, while California has supplied $58.1 million in funding. Construction began on the project in April 2022.

"This wildlife crossing is just one example of how California is building infrastructure that connects rather than divides," said Gov. Gavin Newsom. "With projects like this, we’re reconnecting and restoring habitats so future generations can continue to enjoy California’s unmatched natural beauty."

Officials said the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will "reconnect habitats and improve the health of the environment for many species in Southern California." They added that currently, U.S. 101 is a huge barrier that disconnects Southern California wildlife.

The wildlife crossing's namesake Wallis Annenberg helped provide a $25 million grant for the project.

"There’s a reason I wanted to support this crossing and issue this challenge: We need to move beyond mere conservation, toward a kind of environmental rejuvenation," she said in a statement. "Wildlife crossings are powerfully effective at doing just that — restoring ecosystems that have been fractured and disrupted. It's a way of saying, there are solutions to our deepest ecological challenges, and this is the kind of fresh new thinking that will get us there."