Liberty Canyon Freeway Overcrossing Is Underway And On Schedule; To Be Landmark In Effort To Provide Wildlife Safe Passage Over Freeways

The long-awaited Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway is underway. The formal groundbreaking took place in April, work crews started in July and work is on schedule, Caltrans said.

photo of a cougar near a log
Mountain lions are expected to be prime beneficiaries of the overcrossing. But many deer are killed in highway accidents too, causing great damage and loss of life for both deer and humans. Photo by Nicky Pe on

When completed, the overcrossing will provide a bridge over the freeway for wildlife to use to avoid near certain death when trying to cross the freeway. It is also expected to help prevent inbreeding among cougars and other wildlife. Currently, the freeway creates a pocket for wildlife which they have great difficulty leaving. Lack of genetic diversity eventually leads to infertility and local extinction.

animal animal photography big big cat
Bobcats are also under study by the NPS. The small predators are often traffic victims too and will benefit from the crossing, Photo by Pixabay on

Caltrans spokesman Michael Comeaux said the multi-year project will be completed in two phases. “Construction is on schedule,” he said, adding “Caltrans is proud of our role in planning, designing and constructing this important project.”

Formally known and the Wallis Annenberg Wildilife Crossing. The project is in Agoura Hills at Liberty Canyon Road. Annenberg has been instrumental in raising some of the approximately $70 million needed to fund the project. It is a public/private venture in which Caltrans has a leading role. has been a leading fundraiser.

brown and black tiger lying on ground
Tigers in India are also affected by fragmented habitat. Liberty Canyon may help point the way to effective conservation efforts in that Country. Photo by Julissa Helmuth on

Comeaux said “The wildlife crossing is expected to reduce the likelihood of wildlife-vehicle collisions on U.S. Highway 101, which also is known as the Ventura Freeway. The crossing also will have a crucial role in reconnecting wildlife habitat.” The National Park Service (NPS) has been studying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains for 20 years. Of approximately 100 lions under study at least 17 have died in traffic collisions. Seven have died on the 101. A female was killed on the freeway the day before the 20th anniversary of the start of the study.

leopard lying beside gray metal chain link fence
Conservationists hope to establish a jaguar population in the United States. Overcrossings are vital to those plans here and in Belize. Photo by Yigithan Bal on

Comeaux said stage 1 is expected to be complete in Fall 2024 and “includes only the vegetated bridge structure over U.S. Highway 101 and supporting roadway items within Caltrans right of way. ” Construction began in July.

He said stage two includes a tunnel/bridge over Agoura Road, which is a street parallel to US Highway 101, and fill, grade and landscape between the bridge over US-101 and the bridge over Agoura Road.

The timetable for stage 2 is being developed. ” We anticipate State 2 will be completed in 2025, ” he added.

Liberty Canyon is by far the biggest overcrossing in California, and perhaps the world, but it is not the only one. Caltrans and conservation partners are working on many other wildlife related projects. Other nations are looking to Liberty Canyon as a model for conservation. efforts around the world.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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