Roads have their share of dangers, for humans and animals. In the United States, the city of Santa Monica has decided to equip itself with a monumental construction to better protect animal users: an XXL ecoduct. This green bridge will be built from April 22 on one of the largest highways in the country. Goal: to allow the species that inhabit the region to cross without danger.
This future “ecoduct” or “ecobridge” will be the largest ever built. At 64 meters high and 50 meters wide, it should connect the two parts of the Santa Monica Mountains and face the 101 highway, reports GEO† This 2 x 5 lane section is particularly dangerous and one of the busiest in the world. And not just by motorists. Indeed, lizards, snakes, toads but also large predators can risk themselves there to go from one mountain to another.
The future “ecoduct” should provide them with a safe passage to evolve in their habitat, where animals sometimes die under the roads of motorists. According to the Guardian† “At least 25 big cats have been killed on Los Angeles highways since 2002”†
A green bridge for animal welfare
Besides being “historical”, this work is also a “technical marvel”, gives the Guardian† The XXL bridge will be covered on both sides with local plants to form “green walls”. Objective: to reduce noise and light for the well-being of nocturnal animals. “We wanted to avoid the cement and steel of traditional bridges”, explains Robert Rock, the project’s landscape architect, interviewed by the guard†
As part of this innovative project, the architect collaborated with a pedologist (specialist in soil formation and evolution), who collected specific samples from local trees, and a mycologist specializing in local mushrooms. The latter is responsible for studying how to improve the continuous circulation of plants and animals over this viaduct. Once the bridge is up, it is expected that guards will be placed nearby to discourage curious people from venturing there.
Construction on this special project is set to begin on April 22, 2022, Earth Day, and be completed by 2025. The work must mainly take place at night to limit the nuisance. Cost of the project: 90 million euros. According to GEO60% of the expenditure should be covered by private donations, the rest by public funds.