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Endangered Fish Puts Project On Temporary Hold

A major construction project in Ulster County will come to a screeching halt next month - all because of a fish. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas explains.

Officials say the lengthy re-building of Kingston's Abeel Street with new sidewalks, curbing and traffic signals will encounter a seasonal delay: the multi-million dollar improvement project will be on hiatus through April.

The pre-planned hold is for the benefit of an endangered species of fish, the short-nosed sturgeon, which is in the nearby Hudson River and likely wintering near the project corridor.

Kim Damon Randall is the acting Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service - she says the agency approved the construction plan, which is favorable to the sturgeon under the plan submitted, officials concluded the project was not likely to adversely affect the short-nosed sturgeon.

City Engineering Technician Alan Adin explains the difficulty involved in finishing the project, which included moving utility lines.

The cost of the project continues to grow: Adin says it may eventually chalk up a pricetag of $700-thousand dollars, about $161-thousand more than originally planned.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.