Vehicle collisions with animals cost California $276 million in 2016, and one highway in Los Angeles County was among the state’s 10 “worst roads” for such accidents, it was reported Thursday.

According to the annual report from the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, a 26-mile section of the Ventura (101) Freeway in the western San Fernando Valley had 13 such collisions, and was in ninth place on the list.

Roads in the San Francisco Bay area experienced the highest rates of wildlife-vehicle collisions, according to the report.

The installation of fencing along the most severe roads would “pay for itself” within two years or less, according to the report.

“Collisions between vehicles and wildlife cost California $276 million in 2016, up about 20 percent from the previous year,” the report stated.

Using state data from thousands of traffic accidents, the report maps stretches of California highways that are “hot spots for wildlife-vehicle conflicts.”

“The Bay Area’s Interstate 280 is a perennial roadkill hot spot and in 2016 was the state’s worst for collisions with wildlife,” the report said.

The report estimates that building fencing along the highway to prevent wildlife access to the roadway would pay for itself in less than a year with reduced collisions and property damage.

“We’re seeing an increase in the rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions, and we’re not seeing an increase in our attempt to mitigate the problem,” said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center.

“But this is definitely a problem we can solve,” Shilling said. “We have the resources and know-how to build solutions that can protect wildlife and drivers.”

–City News Service

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