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Czech News in English » News » National » ČR to have a bridge for bears

ČR to have a bridge for bears

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The Czech Republic will have its first bear expressway. Though it will be only a few metres long, it will boast a width like no other road. The Transport and Environment ministries have disputed the unique animal crossing for more than a year. If the environmentalists win, the road will be eighty metres wide.

No other such bridge passes above a road in the Czech Republic. It should be built near Mosty u Jablůnkova on the Slovak border and span the main route to the border. “From the point of view of animal migration, this area is designated as zone one,” Deputy Environment Minister František Pelc said. “That means it is exceptionally significant.”

Although there is no significant number of bears living in the area permanently, the giant crossing should ensure that they are able to come to Czech forests. As well as wolves and lynxes.

The original proposal for a 40-metre-wide crossing is too modest, however, according to the Environment Ministry.

Should the final bridge be widened, the price would rise from the original CZK 250 million to more than CZK 400 million. Because of the disagreement, representatives of the ministries set off on Tuesday for the three-lane part of the road where the crossing is to be built. They agreed on the spot that 40 metres is not enough but that it would not be technically feasible to build an 80-metre-wide road.

“We’ll be looking for a compromise,” Transport Ministry spokesman Jakub Ptačinský said. “Within six weeks, experts should propose a new dimension.” When the crossing is ready, grass and bushes will be grown on it so that animals feel like they are still in nature. Environmentalists will observe how many animals use the bridge, and bears and wolves might even be tracked by a detector. There are only a few smaller crossings in the Czech Republic. The Environment Ministry has made a special map of these crossings. In the next years, up to several thousand wildlife crossings should be made.

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