A migratory bird has made a home under the Three Points Road overpass on Interstate 20, and that means work on a new interchange there can't start until it leaves -- perhaps not until September.
"They like to build their nests under bridges," Cissy McNure, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said of the barn swallow.
The bird's normal mating season is from April 1 to Aug. 31, and McNure said last week that construction would not start before Sept. 1 because of the environmental issue. She said in an e-mail Monday, however, that if no birds are found at the site, even if nests are visible, the contractor might be able to begin clearing beyond the existing right-of-way before then.
Invitations for bids on the project went out in March. Pitt-man Construction Co. of Conyers, Ga., was awarded the contract with a bid of $8,058,774.
Officials had said initially that construction on the interchange, McDuffie County's third, could begin by July.
McNure said the scheduled completion date is Jan. 31, 2013.
County commission Chairman Charlie Newton said in March that an interstate-accessible industrial park might be located near the interchange.
"That's very valuable to these large industries," he said.
The project also will allow large trucks to circumvent downtown Thomson and have direct access to the interstate.