Agencies seek to open $38 million wildlife underpass in Los Gatos

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Various agencies are advocating for the creation of a wildlife underpass near Los Gatos to help limit the number of animals injured.

The proposed $38 million project is expected to provide animals, such as mountain lion and deer have, a safe passage to cross along the stretch of Highway 17 between Downtown Los Gatos and the Lexington Reservoir. In the past 15 years, along that pass, there have been close to 200 collisions between cars and wildlife.

“Having an underpass or an overpass would allow for animals to safely cross through but it has to be linked to fencing,” said Fraser Shilling, the director of the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis. “So if you have that combination of a crossing structure and fencing then we’re definitely going to help with wildlife crossing safely across the highway.”

The project will include two miles of fence preventing animals from getting on the highway and guide them to the crossing. The underpass would also create a bridge for hikers and cyclists.

“We’re also working on a pedestrian overcrossing that would connect over 50 miles of regional trails in the area,” said Ryan McCauley, of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. “It would connect the Los Gatos creek trail over to El Sereno Open Space Preserve.”

Midpeninsula has been contracted to develop the project.

Success has already been reported from another underpass a few miles down the road.

According to the Land Trust of Sanat Cruz County, the other wildlife underpass has has more than 900 animals use it within the first year of it opening.

Currently, the new project is under environmental review. If approved and funded, construction would begin in 2026.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.