AP

Wildlife bridges planned for Vegas-California rail line

Feb 14, 2023, 10:53 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2023, 1:47 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A passenger rail company and two California state departments have agreed to build three wildlife overcrossings along the route of a planned high-speed rail line that would connect Las Vegas and Southern California, the parties said Wednesday.

The agreement was announced in a joint statement by Brightline West and California’s Department of Transportation and Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A rail line giving Southern Californians a new option to reach the gambling and entertainment destination in southern Nevada has been discussed for years.

Brightline West is planning a 218-mile route across the Mojave Desert with tracks in the median between the north- and southbound lanes of Interstate 15, the highway that is often jammed with weekend Vegas traffic.

The three wildlife crossings would allow animals, especially bighorn sheep, to safely cross over the highway and railway, the statement said.

The statement quoted Gov. Gavin Newsom as saying the project will protect the desert’s wildlife as well as safely and efficiently move people between Las Vegas and Southern California.

“Roadways and rail lines must be designed to connect, not divide,” Newsom said.

The three locations identified for the overcrossings are in San Bernardino County, northeast of Los Angeles. Funding sources will include the two state departments and Brightline West capital resources. Federal funds will also be sought.

The agreement also calls for Brightline West to maintain or improve hundreds of existing culverts and large-scale crossings underneath Interstate 15 and to restore or install fencing that keeps desert tortoises off the roadway.

Brightline currently operates intercity passenger rail service in Florida.

Its line serving Las Vegas would not extend into Los Angeles. The plan calls for stations in the high desert cities of Hesperia and Apple Valley and in Rancho Cucamonga, where Southern California’s Metrolink rail system has a station.

Highways and other infrastructure are hazards to wildlife in Southern California. A major wildlife bridge spanning U.S. 101 is under construction west of Los Angeles to allow mountain lions and other animals to move between fragmented habitat.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

5 hours ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

19 hours ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

1 day ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

2 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

7 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

7 days ago

Wildlife bridges planned for Vegas-California rail line