Nesting birds to slow bridge work in Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Barn swallows are nesting at 14 southeast Missouri bridges, and that means painting work on the structures will be delayed.

Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman Joe Jerek told the Southeast Missourian (http://bit.ly/MbR7Jb ) that the birds are federally protected. As a result, nests can’t be removed until the chicks are raised and gone. That isn’t expected to happen until August at the earliest.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded a $299,000 contract on May 2 for bridge painting. The bridges include nine in New Madrid County, two in Iron County and one each in Butler, Cape Girardeau and Douglas counties.

The paint is for more than beautification. Officials say it will prolong the life of the bridges and encapsulate lead-based paint.

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Information from: Southeast Missourian, http://www.semissourian.com

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