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Ina Road Bridge construction disrupting wildlife

Posted at 6:51 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 20:51:44-05

Construction crews are working non-stop to finish the Ina Road bridge, but that construction is disrupting wildlife habitats underneath. 

Dan Casmer with the Arizona Department of Transportation says for decades the existing Ina Rd. bridge used to house up to 30,000 bats, but now they are being kicked out of their home to move to the new bridge. 
Casmer says ADOT and the Arizona Game and Fish installed seven bat boxes underneath the new bridge that can hold up to 3-thousand bats each.

"Our design engineers worked closely with AZ Game and Fish to come up with a design that really mimics their existing habitat you know the thermal and environmental properties so that they feel really comfortable moving from one bridge to the next," he said.

Aside from the bats, a small percentage of non-native fish in the Santa Cruz River are dead as a result of diverting the flow from the west bank of the river to the east bank for construction, according to a Pima County spokesperson. 

The county says in part, "There is no practical way to remove these non-native fish when channel flows must be changed for work in and along the river."

Casmer says in about six weeks they will shift traffic to the new bridge and demolish the existing bridge to build a new one in its place.