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Oct. 17, 2018
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Building bridges and homes for osprey

By Pamela A. Keene
 
When the contract was signed to rebuild Bolling Bridge, the Georgia Department of Transportation made sure that the osprey families who had taken up residence on the steel girders would still have homes. 
 
“Ospreys are monogamous, and they return to their previous years’ nesting sites,” said Katie Strickland. “We left their current nests alone and built two timber platforms nearby for them to have places for them to move. The timing was important because they nest from April until October, so we didn’t want to disturb them during that time.” Osprey are on the Federal Endangered Species list.
 
Both nests were vacated late in 2017, and now that the nesting season is over, the osprey have caught on to their new digs. “One family has already moved to the new platform, but the second platform wasn’t getting any love from the other family,” she said. “In January we moved the other south of the bridge on the first island and we’re keeping an eye on it.”
 
The construction company, Scott Bridge, handled the relocation of the timber piling and platform, in coordination with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “To encourage the osprey toward the new platforms, we’ve placed pyramid-shaped fencing on the tops of the former nesting sites,” she said. 
 
Part of the contract with the GDOT included restricting the type of work that can be done during the Osprey nesting season that might disturb the birds. “The work will continue on such things as lane paving, tying in the approach slabs and signage,” Strickland said.
 
The new bridge will have two 12-foot-wide lanes and 10-foot shoulders. The $20 million project is expected to take almost three years to complete, with a target date of March 2019. It includes building the new bridge and the approaches to the bridge, a total of .74 miles of construction, widening and realignment.


Posted online 1/29/18
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