Wildlife Crossing at Gaviota Pass Receives State Funding

Grant Enhances Connectivity Across Protected State Park Lands Along US 101

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been awarded $8 million to implement the Gaviota Pass Wildlife Connectivity and Vehicle Collision Reduction Project, aimed at mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions and fostering connectivity between protected State Park lands flanking US 101. This initiative is part of the broader U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant program, which recently allocated $110 million across 19 wildlife crossing projects in 17 states, including four Indian Tribes.

The Gaviota Pass Wildlife Project, proposed near US-101 from south of the Gaviota State Park to just south of the US 101/State Route 1 Interchange in Santa Barbara County, addresses wildlife connectivity barriers by enhancing an existing culvert and deploying 2.5 miles of wildlife fencing. These measures intend to create safer road conditions for drivers while preserving vital animal habitats. The funding for this endeavor stems from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which earmarks a total of $350 million over five years for the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program.

“This allocation by the Federal Highway Administration will allow our team to help improve wildlife connectivity on the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County. This is an important effort, and we appreciate the funding contribution.” said Caltrans District 5 Director Scott Eades.

The Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program, facilitated by (BIL), supports projects nationwide that focus on constructing wildlife crossings above and below busy roads. These initiatives align with the Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), which aims to eliminate roadway deaths and serious injuries through a Safe System Approach, preventing crashes proactively.

Annually, there are over one million wildlife-vehicle collisions, resulting in 200 human fatalities, 26,000 injuries, and a public cost exceeding $10 billion. The Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program reinforces the commitment to achieving the NRSS goal of zero roadway deaths and serious injuries, promoting a comprehensive road safety approach.


Written by caltrans

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  1. That’s nice. How about getting CALTRANS and the Contractors they use to FINISH projects in a timely manner…? We could have road crews from Pakistan flown over here, placed in hotels, provide the needed heavy equipment and they could get the job done faster and more efficiently than those who have been working on 101/Gaviota and 154 near Lake Cachuma the last 6 -8 months… It’s INSANE how inefficient and slow these repairs have taken… and now they are going to build a wildland pass…? OMG, what will THAT entail…? Refugio Road has been closed for YEARS, Alisal Road has been closed for nearly a year now- These are vital roadways and access / egress routes for the SYV. Both 101 and 154 (arteries for North/South County/STATE travel) have been down to ONE lane for 6 months now… CALTRANS District 5 should be completely disbanned and audited for mismanagment and disfunction.

  2. Seriously what a waste of money. People are homeless and hungry and we can spend $8 million dollars on a crossing for animals. I would love to see a camera put there to see if any animals actually use it. I think this money can be used for much more useful things.

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