By Phil Matier

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.

Comments (17)
  1. Seriously, this is an example of “law without reason”
    70 Million dollar construction project stops due to one humming bird nest?
    Idea: Declare humans as an endangered species, protected under the same act
    ( due to GMO’s, greed, Nuclear, War, BPA’s, stupidity etc)

  2. Jim Perez says:

    This is an example of saving the planet corporations would destroy the very ecosystems (air , ground water, food supply by ruining the soil) that sustain life for the sake of the almighty buck or so some CEO can earn 10 million instead of 8.5 million. We must stop activities that destroy our ecosystems before the earth cannot sustain life ….. Species of plants, animals and the microscopic organisms that sustain life are becoming extinct every day because of man and greed..soon it will be man itself that can no longer sustain life here.

    There are beautiful lakes in the Adirondack mountains that cannot sustain fish life because the micro organisms they eat have been eliminated because acid rain has raised the pH levels of the water ……if you don’t think it can happen to the human species you are a fool.

    Two weeks is a short period of time and delays and the costs involved are built into every project in America whether it is a building or a road project or a dept of defense or NASA project. in the northeast because weather delays occur regularly and they are still completing projects and making money.

    We are all Gods creatures including this species of hummingbird.

  3. Kathy Kelly says:

    Have there been any updates on this project? Just wondering. I live on the East Coast.