As we have noted the Liberty Canyon mountain lion crossing has inspired conservationists. Mountain lion crossings are now being considered in other parts of the state. Similar projects are underway elsewhere in the world.
According to the Los Angeles Times conservationists in the Bay Area are raising funds for a pathway similar to Liberty Canyon. Like the Southern California crossing it will be over the 101 Freeway. That freeway has several dangerous stretches for wildlife and people. A recent “mortality map” showed just how dangerous some roadways are for cougars. Traffic accidents are a serious threat to wildlife. Caltrans and partners are working to make the roads safer.
The project will be built in San Benito County at Rocks Ranch. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County recently purchased more than 2,000 acres of the ranch.
According to the Times:
“The Rocks Ranch overpass, which would allow animals to avoid the four lanes of speeding traffic, is in the initial stages. Caltrans will complete a feasibility study by the end of the year, and is considering both undercrossings and overpasses along the corridor. Construction is expected to start in 2029.
The project follows the recent completion of an animal under crossing in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Highway 17 that was 10 years in the making. ” About $21 million has been raised for the new project.
Mountain lion crossings have been on the radar for years. They received much impetus from the story of the late P-22 a cougar under study by the National Parks Service. The big cat lived for about 12 years and crossed freeways twice. P-22 was struck by a car in his last days. He had to be recaptured and euthanized due to age and injuries,.