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What are those cones under California freeways?

Here's how they protect bird and bats in construction zones

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Have you ever seen what appears to be upside-down cones underneath Sacramento freeways?

They're called exclusion devices. According to Caltrans, these cheap tools keep birds and bats safe during road construction.

The exclusion devices first went up in Aug. 2020 in Sacramento and were originally used by Caltrans in Fresno a few years ago before coming north.

They were first used at the Interstate 80 and State Route 65 Interchange Project in and near Roseville, and from I-80 to Galleria Boulevard and Stanford Ranch Road. 

Caltrans worked with an environmentalist from UC Davis to make sure these devices would be effective while protecting the animals. This also made it so projects wouldn’t be delayed due to nesting birds or bats. 

Angela DaPrato, a spokesperson with Caltrans District 3, says keeping animals safe is a priority. 

"Our number one thing is safety -- not only for motorists or workers but also for endangered species — birds, and animals. So, we want to take the proper precautions to protect those types of species or animals, especially bats and birds," said DaPrato.

Credit: Caltrans

They were first placed at night while bats were hunting to prevent them from coming back to those spots. More have been installed since, preventing the animals from nesting in construction zones.

According to Caltrans, The Fix50 Highway Enhancement Project is expected to be finished in 2025. Caltrans says they’re about 90% done with the sound wall on the south side of Highway 50 from Stockton to 65th, and mainline work to add HOV lanes will follow soon after.

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