Several of our previous blog posts discussed why Highway 17 is one of the most dangerous roads in California. Each year, there are numerous traffic collisions on this deadly road, which stretches from the South Bay Area to Santa Cruz. Wildlife collisions are another reason why there are accidents on Highway 17 each year. Last month, Caltrans announced a construction project designed to prevent wildlife collisions on Highway 17. Caltrans said it will build an underground tunnel for wildlife to safely cross the highway. The tunnel, which is scheduled to be completed by 2021 and costs $12 million, will be installed at the infamous Laurel Curve. More than 50 percent of wildlife collisions on Highway 17 occur at the Laurel Curve. Researchers spent years studying why deer, mountain lions, foxes and bobcats frequently cross the road at this specific part of Highway 17. Animals are drawn to the Laurel Curve because of the terrain. California has very few wildlife crossings. Caltrans hopes that its new tunnel will become a blueprint for other roads throughout the state. If the project is successful, then Highway 17 may become safer for both motorists and wildlife. UC Davis released a report that estimates there were 7,831 wildlife collisions on California roads during 2016. Deer, mountain lions, elk, bears, wild pigs and coyotes are involved in these accidents. In some cases, collisions with wildlife cause deaths or catastrophic injuries to motorists.
Caltrans to Solve Highway 17 Wildlife Collision Problem by 2021