Birds refuse to budge from Bay Bridge, demolition price soars

Byby Chris Nguyen KGO logo
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Birds not budging from the Bay Bridge
The cormorant bird is refusing to move from the old structure of the Bay Bridge, despite millions spent to lure them away.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A protected bird called the cormorant is refusing to move from the old structure of the Bay Bridge, despite Caltrans' best efforts to lure them out.

These birds aren't budging despite the millions of dollars spent to get them to do just that. The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee met in Sacramento Tuesday and provided a report saying there's a 90 percent chance the program's entire contingency plan will be exhausted. They may need more time and money, which means they could be looking at a $35 million dollar deficit to deal with this issue.

Transit officials say the birds aren't the only ones to blame.

"It's not all to do with the birds. It's really just a function of more time. The basic truism is that time equals money," said John Goodwin with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

"The bridge provides really good surrogate habitat for their nests. It's a nice safe place. It protects them from predators, it protects them from the weather, and it's actually a perfect place for them to build their nest," said Garrison Frost with Audubon California.

Audubon officials say the birds have lived on the Bay Bridge for years and they are reluctant to move to the new Bay Bridge because of habit.

If Caltrans can't get them out ahead of the nesting system, it could mean even more delays and more money spent. Transit officials say despite the possibility of a deficit though, there are no plans right now to raise the tolls on the Bay Bridge.