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State Route 241 Wildlife Safety Fence Improvement Project

Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency

Award Category: 
Social Responsibility
Award Year: 
2016

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) is looking forward to a 90 to 95 percent reduction in vehicle-animal collisions along a six-mile stretch of the State Route 241 Toll Road in Orange County, California, after installing safety fencing and new wildlife undercrossings for cougars, coyotes, bobcats and deer. The safety fence ranges from 10 to 12 feet in height and features an 18-inch “outrigger” to prevent wildlife from climbing over. It is buried 24 inches to prevent animals from digging under, and is placed in close proximity to the roadway shoulder to minimize native habitat loss. For any animals that still find their way onto the roadway, the systems include jump-out ramps at half-mile intervals as an escape route back to open space. Working with the University of California- Davis Wildlife Health Center and the UC-Davis Information Center for the Environment, F/ECTA conducted a two-year field evaluation of undercrossings that were already in place, then identified enhancements that would improve wildlife connectivity throughout the area. The assessment involved GPS tracking of cougar movements throughout the Santa Ana Mountain Range, use of cameras to track wildlife use of existing undercrossings and consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Transportation, among other stakeholders.