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San Antonio spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, Josh Donat has said that a planned $15.1 million highway underpass project begun in April is now “highly unlikely...we’ve been asked to avoid further excavation if we can.” The project, which is currently underway will have to be halted. Why? Because of a spider.
This single spider, the eyeless Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver, was found living underground at the construction site last week. It is only the second time this spider has ever been seen, the first being 30 years ago. It was added to the federal protection list in 2000.
This one endangered spider was located at the construction site, which means that the project to connect Texas 151 and Loop 1604 is on hold indefinitely. While the project is being redesigned to stay away from any areas where the spider might live, the state (along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration) has decided to release the contractor. Unfortunately, Donat says “There’s no timeline at all right now.”
Residents of one of the most congested areas of San Antonio now have no hope for reprieve any time soon because of this dime-sized arachnid. We know it’s important to be good stewards of our planet. Are we going to overlook this boon in money and jobs to the local economy for one spider? With so much at stake for humans, isn’t this going a little too far?