How did the wildlife cross the road?

Deer, bobcats, coyotes and foxes may get help crossing one of the most congested roads in Los Angeles. A proposal for a $455,000 animal path over the 405 Freeway is now on the table, but it’s being scoffed at by residents of nearby neighborhoods who say transportation dollars should be spent on helping people stuck in traffic rather than on animals.

Biologist Paul Edelman of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy told the LA Times that, if the state is going to expand 405, it has an obligation to help wildlife across open spaces “sliced roughly in half by one of the nation’s busiest freeways.”

The proposal was in response to a plan by the California Department of Transportation to replace the Skirball overpass to accommodate for the planned widening of the freeway, with an additional carpool lane through Brentwood, Bel-Air and Sherman Oaks.

The Times reported that the Conservancy “won a tentative commitment from Caltrans to make the new bridge, which would also include lanes for cars, 5 feet wider than originally planned.”

A preliminary design for the bridge may receive final approval in January after an environmental review is completed. The bridge isn’t expected to be finished until early 2013.