A Blanding's turtle. Credit: Courtesy of Derek Yorks / Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Endangered turtles are getting a bigger tunnel so they can travel to safety in Eliot.

The Maine Department of Transportation started a project Monday to replace a culvert on Route 236 near Depot Road.

Workers are installing a larger culvert to improve drainage and to allow the Blanding’s turtles safe crossing.

The department said this area often has animal strikes, and it’s hoping to avoid that.

“We want to protect the species of turtle and I’m sure motorists don’t want to hit them, so this is part of a multi-part, multiyear to replace the culvert and make the environment safe for the endangered species, the turtle,” said Paul Merrill, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation.

This weekend, Route 236 will be closed to replace the culvert.

Detours will be in place from Friday to Monday.

Following that, drivers in the area may encounter single-lane closures.

The whole project should be finished by mid-May.

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