Company:
Transportation Corridor Agencies
Status:
Awarded
Awarded:
Environmental Engineering Project of the Year
Additional Files
Additional Information

The wildlife fence project was designed as a result of a joint study with UC Davis into the movement and health of the area’s wildlife. Since the project’s successful completion, TCA has monitored the benefits the fencing has provided to the local wildlife, and how well the fence has performed in reducing wildlife and car collisions. These findings have helped TCA and will help other agencies in designing and building future projects.

State Route (SR) 241 Wildlife Protection Fence Project

Project Location:

The six-mile state-of-the-art project runs along the northern portion of the 241 Toll Road, from the 261 Toll Road north to the 91 Freeway.

Project Description:

One of TCA’s major environmental initiatives was the completion of the Wildlife Protection Fence along State Route 241 and the ongoing monitoring of the fence’s effectiveness and the associated bridge under crossings and large culverts efficacy. The 10- to 12-foot-high fence was constructed to protect mountain lions, mule deer, coyotes and bobcats living in the Santa Ana Mountains from passing cars. In addition to shielding them from the road, the new fence, which spans both sides of a six-mile stretch of SR 241, also funnels them to existing wildlife bridges and culvert under crossings that allow them safe passage to open spaces on either side of the road.

Project Justification:

Designed in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, Wildlife Health Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Transportation, the wildlife protection fence emphasizes an innovative and creative approach to effective wildlife fence design, type and location.  Typical highway-wildlife fences are six-to-eight feet high hog-wire type, with no dig barrier or an outrigger.  The state-of-the-art TCA chain-link fence is 10-to-12 feet high; has an 18-inch barbed wire “outrigger” to prevent animals from climbing; is buried 24 inches to prevent animals from digging under the fence; has jump-out-ramps at one-half mile intervals to provide animals with an escape back into the open space should they inadvertently end up on the roadway.  The location of the fence close to the roadway maximizes the amount of habitat available to wildlife, makes the fence readily visible to the traveling public and maintenance crews.  The fence is stained by an environmentally sensitive Natina Steel product, an oxidizing agent that gives the fence a rustic look; thereby, softening the visual effects of the fence by blending it into the environment and giving the perception that it has been in place for a long time.  The fence has reduced vehicle-wildlife collisions by nearly 100% since it was installed. By keeping wildlife off the highway, the fence increases public and wildlife safety, decreases property damage, and significantly reduces the potential human injury or death that can result from vehicle-wildlife collisions.  These findings help TCA and other agencies in designing and building future projects.

Special Circumstances:

he Project design and construction of the project is a result of a collaborative effort between the TCA, University of California Davis Wildlife Health Center, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Transportation, design engineers, contractors, and biologists.  As such, this Project represents a major achievement involving relationships between federal, state, academic, local agencies and other professional organizations. 

One of the major obstacles the project overcame was related to constructability. The fence is buried 24-inches to prevent wildlife, like coyotes, from digging underneath. Trenching the entire 12 miles covered by the project was difficult given; the terrain and sold conditions; however, through various innovative approaches the contractor was able to successfully complete this task. 

The project has previously been recognized by WTS-Orange County (Innovative Transportation Solutions Award); The International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association (Toll Excellence Award – Social Responsibility); California Association of Environmental Professionals (Outstanding Achievement Award) and the Orange County Engineering Council (Engineering Project Achievement Award).

Project Attachments:

The project was the result of a joint study with University of California, Davis into the movement and health of the area’s wildlife, including GPS tracking of mountain lions, and collaboration with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Award Citation::

The State Route 241 Wildlife Protection Fence is a multi-agency project successfully designed to exclude animals from the roadway via proper location, height and continuity, funnel animals to bridge and culvert undercrossing structures that are safe for their passage, minimizing the amount of attraction of wildlife to areas adjacent to the roadway. Additionally, the fence placement - highly visible to maintenance crews - ensures quick detection and repair of any damage.

Suggested Award Summary:

One of TCA’s major environmental initiatives was the completion of the Wildlife Protection Fence along State Route 241 and the ongoing monitoring of the fence’s effectiveness and the associated bridge under crossings and large culverts efficacy. These findings will help TCA and other transportation agencies design and build future projects. The 10- to 12-foot-high fence was constructed to protect mountain lions, mule deer, coyotes and bobcats living in the Santa Ana Mountains from passing cars. In addition to shielding them from the road, the new fence, which spans both sides of a six-mile stretch of SR 241, also funnels them to existing wildlife bridges and culvert under crossings that allow them safe passage to open spaces on either side of the road.

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