Endangered American Burying Beetle delays $6.5 million road project in Muskogee County, Oklahoma

Beetle delays $6.5M road project in Muskogee Co.
Posted at 10:56 AM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 12:04:22-04

MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Okla. – A red and black endangered beetle found near Ft. Gibson has halted a $6.5 million road project that’s been in the works for a decade.

Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke said an environmental study conducted this summer found one American Burying Beetle underground, which had never been located in the same area in past studies.

The Six-Mile Road Project, which spans more than 50 acres, would widen the currently narrow, two-way traffic north of Highway 62 and east of Ft. Gibson.

The road crosses Muskogee County line and goes into Cherokee County. Doke said the road needs a new surface and better drainage.

He added Cherokee Nation is funding the project, which could now end up costing an additional $750,000 and a delay of more than a year.

Engineers would have to calculate the beetle’s habitat affected before the project moves forward.

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