SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Researchers at UC Davis have named a 31-mile section of I-280 in the Bay Area, California's deadliest stretch of highway for wildlife encounters.
According to the university’s Road Ecology Center, the stretch of I-280, from San Bruno to Cupertino, costs drivers in the state around $5.8 million dollars in damages and cleanup costs a year, or $178,897 thousand dollars per mile.
"It’s definitely a problem like nowhere else," said Derek Vroom of San Mateo. "You've got to be really careful, especially at night, and in the fog it's really bad, so I try to drive at a normal pace, because you just never know what’s going to happen on 280."
From 2016 to 2020, the annual 'roadkill' report estimates that wildlife involved accidents cost the state upwards of $1 billion. Statewide, State Farm Insurance estimates that there are around 22,000 claims for crashes involving deer each year.
Meanwhile, from 2016 to 2020 nearly 600 black bears and over 300 mountain lions were killed by vehicles across the state, concerning to animal conservationists. Just last week a San Mateo patrol vehicle hit a mountain lion on nearby route 92. The animal ran off and it’s unclear if it survived.
Researchers at UC Davis say dedicated bridges for wildlife to cross highways are the best way to alleviate the problem. They’re also urging the state legislature to allocate more money for fencing in animal hot spots.