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Work halted as B.C. flood recovery crews find an unexpected slithery visitor

Russell Hixson
Work halted as B.C. flood recovery crews find an unexpected slithery visitor
BC MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE — A western rattlesnake sits coiled at a Highway 8 construction site in B.C. Work in the area was halted until the federally protected snake could be relocated.

Crews working on flood recovery efforts in B.C. had a slithery visitor this month.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure crews working on the Highway 8 flood recovery project found a federally protected western rattlesnake at a site 14 km east of Spences Bridge.

“Thanks to the clear processes outlined, an operator immediately stopped work in the area and notified the onsite environmental monitor,” said the ministry in a statement. “The snake was successfully relocated by our onsite environmental monitor to a safe zone away from the site and into an appropriate habitat as per our regulatory authorization.”

The ministry added as repairs to Highway 8 continue, they want to protect snakes and their habitats from construction impacts.

Spring and early summer is a common time for snake encounters. Ministry officials explained in the Nicola region, between late March and early June, snakes begin to leave their dens after winter hibernation.

“Snakes are often slow to move out of hibernation and use the sun’s energy to warm up, often basking on rocks or roads,” said the ministry. “As a result, snakes may be susceptible to harm from vehicles or humans.”

Workers have been given a construction environment management plan and a snake protection mitigation guide to help keep them informed about local snake populations and how to keep them safe. The guides are reviewed in daily meetings.

The project includes sections of highway from Merritt to Spences Bridge. As of May, crews had completed temporary repairs at 14 locations, started construction on another six and began planning work for five sites. The Highway 8 Team is working on 25 sites overall.

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