California,  Habitat and Ecosystem Conservation,  Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation

Safety as a Priority Includes Wildlife Too

A partnership between Caltrans and the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority (MRCA) is increasing an understanding of wildlife movements along a critical interstate corridor and improving safety for both motorists and animals.

Safety is the number one priority for Caltrans, and it is our everyday goal that motorists travel safely on the complex road network across the state. But what happens when that ribbon of concrete cuts off access for the wild animals that live there? They use bridges, culverts and ditches built within a road project to travel safely within their habitat.

Recognizing this, engineers include mitigation efforts including environmental studies that identify what species are impacted and how they travel. One example of this is the partnership between Caltrans and the MRCA that installed wildlife cameras on Interstate 5 in northern Los Angeles County in the summer of 2020. The cameras captured various wildlife species using these facilities including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, and quail. Through these photos you get the sense that each animal appreciates the ability to travel under I-5, stopping to view the area, almost posing for the camera. Caltrans maintains the fencing, improves vegetation, removes trash to provide safe passage for wildlife, and prevents them from crossing the freeways. With the MRCA cameras and biological studies, Caltrans will have information for future widening projects in this area. This is teamwork in action.

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