OKAY, Oklahoma - A project to rebuild 16 miles of Oklahoma Highway 16 between Okay and Wagoner is being delayed because of its possible effect on a population of endangered bats.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service halted the project to study whether sediment from the job site is affecting water quality near a population of gray bats and reducing the number of insects that serve as the bats' food supply, particularly in wetlands near the project.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation Engineer Chris Wallace tells the Muskogee Phoenix that the road project is about 60 percent complete and will take three to four more months to finish when it restarts.

The project includes widening the highway and roadside ditches and deepening the ditches to improve flood control.