Groundbreaking for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon has been set for Earth Day, April 22, Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation announced yesterday. "This one's historic," she said, "because we are putting it over one of the busiest freeways in the world."
Pratt, was instrumental in raising over 77 million dollars to build the structure. The $87 million needed to build the bridge will be covered by about 60% private donations, with additional funding coming from public dollars set aside for conservation purposes. The span is to be named after Wallis Annenberg, the philanthropist whose foundation donated $25 million.
said the bridge will be the first of its kind near a major city and the largest in the world, stretching 200 feet above a 10 lane highway and the 2-lane Agoura Road. The bridge will give mountain lions, deer, bobcats and other creatures a safe route to habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains and from there, beyond to the Santa Susana Mountains and the Los Padres National Forest. Most important, it will allow for genetic diversity among the threatened population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, insuring the survival of the Santa Monica's apex predator.
Caltrans officials indicate that construction will take place mostly at night and won’t require any lengthy shutdowns of the 101 freeway. Gov. Gavin Newsom called the project an “inspiring example” of public-private partnership.