(WMC-TV) - You may shake your head, but an endangered bat could force a new route for the proposed Interstate 69 through a portion of West Tennessee
TDOT crews are already hard at work looking for this endangered mammal that could have a big impact on that interstate.
It's called the Indiana Bat.
It's gray, black, or brown in color and weighs as much as three pennies.
This miniature mammal could determine where Interstate 69 travels from Millington to Dyersburg.
"We're searching for bats," said TDOT Community Relations Officer Nichole Lawrence.
TDOT officials say the endangered bat has already been spotted in East and Middle Tennessee.
They are already searching in rural areas near Covington, Ripley, and Dyersburg.
"The study will occur between 2 and 4 a.m., whenever they're active, they'll go out, set up monitors, try to track down sounds," added TDOT Project Manager Steve Chipman.
Interstate 69 will run parallel with Highway 51 from Dyersburg to Millington.
Highlighted in red, Interstate 69 will run west of the highway from Dyersburg to Ripley.
It will then run east of 51 from Ripley to Covington and cross back over the highway.
Even though the route has been decided, the Indiana Bat could shift the interstate a few feet if a habitat is located.
"It's an endangered species and it's a bat so anytime federal dollars are used for a federal project, we have to make sure the bat or other species isn't in the area," Lawrence said.
If you live in the area, TDOT officials suggest people be on the lookout for the Indiana bat and don't be scared to offer your assistance in finding one.
TDOT says they have sent out around 1,100 letters to residents along the I-69 corridor.
The search for these bats will be going on through August.