Bergstrom Expressway meets buzzing obstacle

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 23 at 5:40 PM

AUSTIN -- The Texas Department of Transportation and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority are studying how to improve traffic on U.S. 183, but first a hive of thousands of honey bees must be removed.

The project is named the Bergstrom Expressway and would include changes to U.S. 183 from U.S. 290 to Highway 71. While the agencies have yet to decide on the roadway changes or the potential cost, one thing is known -- a hive of 40,000 honeybees has to go.

The hive is located in an oak tree that TxDOT has deemed environmentally important to preserve. Workers need to conduct tests that include vibration on the tree, but that vibration could cause the bees to swarm.

"The bee hive is in the tree, and they won't leave voluntarily," said bee removal specialist Randy Oakley. 

So bee removal specialists are transporting the hive to a bee farm in Robinson, Texas -- a process that's expected to take a couple of more weeks. That will clear the way for the study and for future changes to U.S. 183.

"A third of the food supply in this country is dependent on honeybee pollination, so everything we can do is to save one more bee hive," said Oakley.

TxDOT says it's doing the environmental study in house, so the agency could not give KVUE a cost estimate. The bee removal costs $1,500.

For more information on the Bergstrom Expressway click here.

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