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Report: Alice’s Road project ‘not likely to adversely affect’ Indiana bats

The Alice’s Road/105th St. Interchange project is moving forward after receiving the ‘go-ahead’ from the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Federal Highway Administration recently (FHWA).

In February an Indiana bat was located five-eighths of a mile from the site where Interstate 80 would interchange with Alice’s Road. The Indiana bat is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to a report prepared for the City of Waukee by Santec Consulting services, a company in Independence, Iowa, mist netting was conducted at two sites, within and near the project corridor using USFWS guidelines for mist netting Indiana bats and that netting was conducted on May 21, 24, 27 and 28 at the two sites.

One of the sites was approximately 500 feet north of Mills Civic Parkway and approximately 600 feet west of Waterbury Circle, and the other site was just east of Wendover Road and north of Mills Civic Parkway.

Also according to the report, a total of 11 bats, comprising of different species were netted but “no state or federally endangered or threatened species were captured within or near the project corridor during surveys.”

Habitat suitability for the Indiana bat was rated low to moderate in the project corridor.

City of Waukee administrator Tim Moerman said that “the project is on schedule,” and “the cities will be working with the federal agencies throughout the project regarding the bat habitat issues.”

Reports stated the project is ‘not likely to adversely affect’ the endangered Indiana bat and is working with the cities of Waukee and West Des Moines, the FHWA and the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) to further avoid impacts to the bat during planning of additional road projects within the development corridor.

“This is very positive news for the project,” Waukee Mayor Bill Peard said in a recent release. “It enables the construction of this interchange and the associated roadways to stay on schedule.”

West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gear added, “The concurrence by the Fish and Wildlife Service with this determination means that we can move forward with the planning of this project and ultimately provide transportation access to our growing communities.”

The environmental impact assessment must be approved by the IDOT and the FHWA prior to approval of the final design and bid letting process.

A final design is to be completed the summer of 2014 with a big letting in late summer of the same year. Completion of the project and opening of the interchange is scheduled for late 2015.