Endangered mussels delay $1.5 million bridge construction project

Updated Jun 20, 2017

The $1.5 million Eldamain Road bridge project over Rob Roy Creek in Kendall County, Illinois, is being delayed by the discovery of endangered slippershell mussels near the site, Alton Daily News.com reports.

The project, which was originally set to begin on Aug. 4, will now likely be delayed until Sept. 22, according to Fran Klaas, Kendall County engineer.

“Part of our project includes the removal and replacement of three metal culverts that carry Eldamain Road over Rob Roy Creek,” Klaas told the news agency. “We’re replacing those three culverts with a small single-span bridge. IDNR (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) has really been accommodating in trying to work with us and putting us at the top of the list, because this is an important project, a big rather expensive project for us. They’ve done a really good job in working with us, coming up with a conservation plan.”

According to the news agency, the agency recently completed the survey and moved the mussels upstream from the construction area. The delay doesn’t seem to be adding additional costs to the construction project, but the mussel removal is.

“The county is paying several thousand dollars to assist in IDNR’s effort to preserve habitat,” Klaas told the news outlet. The county knew that slippershell mussels were known to be in the area, but the IDNR couldn’t conduct its survey until May, when the weather was warmer and creek levels were lower.

“It’s a slight delay that I think everybody can work with, and it’s a fairly minimal cost on the mitigation with IDNR,”  Klaas told the news agency, adding that he was grateful for IDNR’s quick and efficient efforts to minimize the delay.