Batman swoops in to protect flying friends through bridge upgrade

5 May 2021

Endangered southern myotis microbats have been given new homes to ensure their protection while work continues on the McKanes Bridge upgrade in South Bowenfels.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said temporary wooden structures, nicknamed ‘Batshacks’, were installed after a recent discovery of the tiny bats.

“We are implementing bat-friendly measures to keep these bats happy and healthy, whilst continuing with our work to upgrade McKanes Bridge for all road users in the Lithgow region,” Mr Toole said.

“Work was stopped immediately following their discovery and a specialist ecologist, who we have affectionately called Harry the Batman, was engaged to establish the extent of the colony.

“Harry the Batman has helped develop a plan to keep the bats safe around the work site, including installing four temporary homes, similar to hotels for bats.

“These structures, along with regular inspections from environment staff, will remain until the full bridge upgrade is completed later this year.”

Harry Engel from Lesryk Environmental said it is vital that the millions of different species of native flora and fauna across NSW are protected.

“It is great news the McKanes Bridge upgrade is ensuring the local environment and wildlife will be kept safe and protected, whilst promoting biodiversity and conservation in the area,” Mr Engel said.

The historic McKanes Bridge over the Cox River, on McKanes Falls Road, is one of only four timber McDonald truss bridges that remain in NSW.

Access to the bridge is currently closed and road users are advised to use Jenolan Caves Road and the Great Western Highway.

The full bridge upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting.

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