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Hummingbird Nest Halts Upgrades On Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

RICHMOND (KPIX 5) -- A little bird could become a big hold up for important upgrades on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

A path on the upper deck will enable bike riders to get across in both directions and a third traffic lane on the lower deck will ease congestion for drivers heading eastbound.

The backhoes are waiting  - the safety barriers are lined to go  up - but thanks to a little winged friend  work on a key part of the $70 million Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Bridge re-do has been put on hold.

Randy Rentschler, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said, "In this particular case a bird's nest was found."

Not just any bird - but a protected bird under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - and one with an egg waiting to hatch.

Rentschler said, "Hummingbirds are on the list so the followed the rules."

"A single Hummingbird nest with an egg is going to cost us a couple of weeks," Rentschler said,

Rentschler said he doesn't know how much it will cost.

"At this point we think we can make the time up," he said.

While stopping work for a single hummingbird egg may sound extreme, the bigger the project the bigger the odds that something like this will happen.

Rentschler said, "In all cases on major construction projects you can find a species of something that's protected by somebody, the feds of the state."

Protecting nesting birds and fish has also caused long delays in the take down of the old Bay Bridge.

Rentschler said, "And that has cost tens of millions of dollars."

Even the night lights on the San Francisco side of the bridge had to be declared bird and fish friendly before they went on.

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