Bumblebee Halts SW Metro Road Project

March 27, 2017 07:52 PM

A major road reconstruction project in the southwest metro is on hold because of a bumblebee.

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee was just put on the endangered species list. Experts say their numbers have been dropping over the years.  


And that decision has halted work on a busy stretch of Flying Cloud Drive near Highway 101 in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen.

Project managers said that while the bee hasn't been spotted in the work area, the lay of the land makes it prime habitat for the pollinator.

"Habitat loss is one of the biggest things," said Ping Honzay, the Bee and Pollinator Center Education Program Coordinator with the Tashjian Bee Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

"Just having the habitat for pollinators to be around (is important)."

Work to widen and raise the road and add a trail was set to begin in April. At this point, it's not clear when work on the project will resume.

Hennepin County is hopeful crews can get started this fall.

"Bees are no different than deer, moose, fish, or anything else," Minnetonka resident Rob Bodeau said. "They're really important to us. I think there's got to be a way to let the bees live and let the road go through too."

The county said the next phase will likely be a species survey to determine how to move forward.

For a full list of endangered species in Minnesota, click here.


Jessica Miles

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