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MO Bridge Inspection Derailed by Bird Nest

Friday, May 3, 2019

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An inspection of the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge, located near Hannibal, Missouri, set to start April 8, has been delayed due to the discovery of an endangered peregrine falcon nest. A bird sanctuary associate urged the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to delay the inspection until later in the summer.

The inspection, which occurs every other year, was expected to last two days. Now, the inspection will take place in early August, to accommodate the peregrine falcon nesting season. The structure, a truss bridge, runs over the Mississippi River, and was opened in 2000.

Birds on the Bridge

According to the Hannibal Courier-Post, local photographer David Johnson, having taken a photo of the birds near the bridge, reached out to a friend at MoDOT to let them know about the likely chance of there being a nest on the structure. That MoDOT employee touched base with Jeff Meshach, of the World Predatory Bird Sanctuary, located in St. Louis. Meshach subsequently urged the department to delay the inspection, citing that falcons are territorial during nesting season. These birds can mostly be found living along river valleys, mountain ranges and coastlines.

Madmaxmarchhare, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

An inspection of the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge, located near Hannibal, Missouri, set to start April 8, has been delayed due to the discovery of an endangered peregrine falcon nest. A bird sanctuary associate urged the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to delay the inspection until later in the summer.

Peregrine falcons are known for nesting on manmade structures, including bridges, as these replicate the sites they prefer to nest in, such as a cliff ledge. The American and Arctic peregrine falcon subspecies were labeled endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969.

Since limitations put on the use of pesticide DDT, as well as efforts put into recovery, the bird has made a comeback. In August 1999, the American peregrine falcon was taken off the endangered species list. Meshach noted that peregrine falcons are still considered endangered in the state of Missouri, however.

Marisa Ellison, communications manager for MoDOT’s northeast district, told the Courier-Post that work being interrupted due to such discoveries was not unusual.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; Inspection; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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