At our Interstate 10/Ina Road project near Tucson, some of Sundt’s constituents have wings and enjoy nestling under an old bridge. They wedge themselves into one-inch crevices to roost between the bridge’s beams. When they leave their homes in the evenings to hunt, they draw people from across the region to watch their night flight.
Our work to widen the interstate involves taking down and replacing the Ina Road bridge where Mexican free-tailed bats spend much of the year. It’s their hangout.
Arizona Game and Fish officials estimate about 1,000 bats spend the winter there instead of relocating to Mexico and 25,000 stick around Southern Arizona in the summer. Fortunately, the project team and Arizona Game and Fish Department have devised a plan to make sure the bats aren’t homeless.
The new bridge, which sits next to the old one, has seven bat boxes that replicate the conditions under which the mammals have been living. Each of the boxes has one-inch openings for the bats to crawl into. The boxes provide cooler conditions in the summer and warmer in the winter that bats like.
The old bridge will be coming down early next year and the team is spending time now making sure the bats find their new home. When the winged creatures take off at night, crews are sealing the areas where they have been resting. The construction team has been spraying bat urine on the boxes to draw the residents to their new homes.
Now that’s dedication, proving we’ll do whatever it takes to make clients happy, including those whose nightly foraging has become an enjoyable ritual for Tucson-area spectators.