WINDHAM, N.H. -- The state's first tunnel designed for amphibian traffic isn't getting much use.
The state spent about $25,000 to build the tunnel under the new Route 11 bypass that will open later this year. The goal was to give salamanders, frogs, and other critters a safe way to get around without becoming road kill, but state officials say that hasn't happened yet. While there is some evidence that skunks, muskrats, and other mammals have been using the tunnel, the amphibians it was designed for are staying away.
Lori Sommer of the Department of Environmental Services, said the state knew it would be a long shot to get the reptiles and amphibians to use the tunnel, but it's too early to declare it a failure.
"I think you'd want to give it a couple of seasons," she said.
Bill Cass of the Department of Transportation agreed that the experiment was worth trying, even if frogs aren't flocking to the site.
"The DOT agreed to try it in this one place as a trial, and monitor it, as proposed to putting them in all over the place . . . without really knowing whether they work or not," he said. "We're getting good data on what works and what doesn't, so it's very worthwhile to that degree."