Freeway extension rattles snakes
In recent days, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) has erected a two-meter (six foot) tall fence, stretching 9 kilometers (about 5.5 miles) along the threatened eastern fox snake's habitat in the city's west end.
The special fabric fence – which extends below ground level – was erected because the snake can climb and slither beneath regular fences. The MTO was concerned that snakes might wander into the construction zone, where they would be at risk.
The fence was built with assistance from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to keep the construction project in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, as work begins on extending Highway 401 west towards the proposed bridge to Detroit.
This news comes just weeks after dozens of volunteers relocated endangered shrubs, bushes, trees, and grasses from the area. The plants were placed in boxes, and stored in trailers near the construction site, where they will be returned upon completion of the freeway, with some going to other parks in Ontario and Canada. The city-owned Ojibway Park (no relation to Ojibway Provincial Park near Thunder Bay) had also completed a replacement of its wildlife interpretive center, built in 1974 and torn down in March.
The goal of this construction project is to finish a job that was killed by freeway revolt in 1965: extending Highway 401 to the border of the United States, and includes a new bridge built by the MTO, Transport Canada and Michigan Department of Transportation over the Detroit River. The cost of the fence is bundled with the construction of the largely below-grade freeway, which will have six of its eleven kilometers (4 of 6.2 miles) tunneling beneath new or extended parklands.
- DRIC Partnership Border Study
- MTO project information
- Transport Canada
- DRIC project information, English Wikipedia
Courtesy: The Windsor Star