LOMPOC, Calif. - Construction began in August on Highway 246 to create new passing lanes between Lompoc and Buellton. Now people aren't going to be the only ones benefiting from this project - animals are too. As part of the $14.9 million project, six animal underpasses will be built so animals can cross safely as well.
Julia Disieno spends her days taking care of animals both wild and domestic at Animal Rescue Team Inc. in Solvang. She believes the new underpasses will be pivotal for animal conservation.
"Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc is definitely death alley - a lot of animals are hit and I can attest to that because we rescue them," says Disieno.
While some people may wonder how the animals will know how to use the crossings, Disieno says to give them the benefit of the doubt, telling us: "Animals are so hard wired and so intelligent and we as humans don't give them that credit but they are going to figure this out."
Some travelers on Highway 246 say this construction will benefit people as well.
"I'm sure it will save human and animal lives because animals will not go over the freeway and there won't be car collisions with them," says Sam Almaoui.
"For the sake of young people and thinking about our natural environment, I think it's a great idea because we must protect what we've been given," says traveler Brian Penfold.
Out of the six total wildlife undercrossings, two are now under construction with two others partially completed.