The crossing will be over US Highway 101 northwest of downtown of Los Angeles.
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the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Groundbreaking Celebration
Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation Beth Pratt, David Szymanski, Governor of California Gavin Newsom, Mayor of Agoura Hills Deborah Klein-Lopez, U.S. Congressmen Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman and Senator Fran Pavley attend the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Groundbreaking Celebration on April 22, 2022 in Agoura Hills, California.
| Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for The National Wildlife Foundation

The world's largest wildlife crossing began construction in Southern California this week. The bridge, located just north of Los Angeles, is meant to help animals like mountain lions and coyotes navigate safely through urban sprawl.

When completed, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will stretch 200 feet over US Highway 101, making it the longest wildlife crossing in the world, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The bridge will offer coyotes, deer, big cats, and other local wildlife a safe path from protected wildland in Agoura Hills to the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.

"This wildlife crossing could not have come at a better time. It is truly a game-changer," Jeff Sikich, biologist for the National Park Service, said at a ceremony this week, The Associated Press reported. "Today's groundbreaking sets a path toward saving our local mountain lions and supporting the diversity of wildlife in this whole region."

Steve Winter in front of an artists rendering of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing
Photographer Steve Winter is photographed by his partner Sharon Guynup in front of an artists rendering of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing on display near the location of the future wildlife crossing in Agoura Hills. Winter is the photographer who made the iconic photo of the mountain lion known as P-22, roaming Griffith Park with the Hollywood sign in the background. Spanning over ten lanes of the 101 freeway, when complete, the crossing will be the largest in the world, the first of its kind in California and a global model for urban wildlife conservation.
| Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The bridge is expected to be completed by early 2025 and comes with an estimated price tag of $90 million. It's estimated that more than 100 mountain lions are killed by vehicles in California each week. Just last week, one was struck near where the new bridge is being constructed.

Wildlife crossings are fairly common in parts of the world like Western Europe and Canada, but rarer in the U.S.

Robert Rick shows his son part of the landscape design for the project.
Robert Rick, lead design landscape artist for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Agoura Hills, shows his son Alexander, 8, where 25 feet of dirt will be removed to create a slope that is part of the landscape design for the project. Spanning over ten lanes of the 101 freeway, when complete, the crossing will be the largest in the world, the first of its kind in California and a global model for urban wildlife conservation.
| Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Conservationists hope that planning more bridges and tunnels for wildlife can help protect them from vehicular accidents.

The Nature Conservancy has been mapping out other potential wildlife crossings in the region.

Cara Lacey, project director for wildlife corridors and crossings project at the Nature Conservancy, told the AP that her organization and its partners "have a vision for reconnected California where wildlife does not have to compete with cars to crossroads."

Fortunately for Angelenos, the majority of construction will be at night according to officials and the project will not require any lengthy shutdowns of the freeway.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.