MAY TOWNSHIP, Minn. - There's a new punchline for a classic question.
Why did the turtle cross the road? Because there's a brand new under-the-road tunnel so he can get there in one piece.
The Washington County Parks Department and Public Works are building a turtle tunnel on County Highway 4 near Big Marine Lake in May Township.
It's a specialized culvert built in Germany, which has small holes at roadway level to allow sunlight to get into the tunnel.
The location was picked after the MN Herpetological Society documented a large number of turtle crossings which were deemed hazardous to both turtles and motorists, who were stopping on the two-lane highway to avoid hitting them.
The $50,000 price is paid for with a $10,000 grant from the University of Minnesota, a $37,000 grant from the DNR's Legacy funding, and $3,000 from the Herpetological Society.
A fence will be used on both sides of the highway to funnel turtle traffic into the opening of the two-foot wide tunnel.
Supporters say it's more than just a viaduct for the creatures, it's also an experiment to show whether this can work. If it does, it may be duplicated in other areas of the US.
If it doesn't work, the project could save others the trouble.