• A rendering shows how the bridge will let animals cross over traffic.
    A rendering shows how the bridge will let animals cross over traffic.

Wild animals in Southern California soon will have more turf to roam thanks to the world's biggest wildlife crossing, which will span 10 lanes of Highway 101 in northwest Los Angeles to close a crucial gap for habitats.

Mountain lions, which typically wander a territory spanning 160-320km, will be among the chief beneficiaries of the new overpass, providing a safe passage from the Santa Monica Mountains, across the freeway, and into the Simi Hills of the Santa Susana mountain range.

This week, an 18-month-old mountain lion recently separated from its mother and seeking its own terrain was hit and killed on the 405 freeway, Ana Cholo, spokesperson for the National Park Service (NPS) tells CNN.

The $US87 million ($121m) Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is named for the president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, a family foundation that supports non-profits. More than 5,000 individual contributions were made, said Tony Tavares, interim director of CalTrans, the California Department of Transportation, noting the crossing also will help protect motorists.

"We can protect California's ecosystems without jeopardising the transportation and other infrastructure development that we need for a growing population," said US Sen. Alex Padilla at the project's groundbreaking ceremony Friday.

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