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Anyone who has ridden on a motorway has probably seen the remains of animals that were hit when they tried to cross the road. One way to make it safer for the animals to cross the highway is to build wildlife crossings, also known as ecoducts: viaducts with vegetation, across the road. The world's largest ecoduct will now be built in California.
The ecoduct will cross a ten-lane motorway and thereby connect ecosystems that the motorway currently divides like a wall.
"The ecoduct recreates ecosystems that are fragmented and connects animals that have been separated. This is not just about preserving environments and species, but is a renewal of the environment that has been needed for a long time", says Wallis Annenberg, chairman of the Annenberg Foundation, which is behind the idea for the ecoduct.
In total, the ecoduct will cost around $20 million and it will be completed in 2025. Among the animals that will now have an easier time crossing the motorway without risking their lives are cougars, coyotes, and deer.
The cougars are an endangered species in the area and the ecoduct will make it easier for the few cougars on either side of the highway to find each other and mate. Something that will hopefully increase the population in the near future.
Ecoducts are covered by bushes, trees and other vegetation, which should make the animals feel more comfortable walking across the road there instead of trying to run across the roadway. Studies also show that ecoducts work well and that the animals like to use them to cross roads.