Endangered snails are dragging progress on a tram project in Basel to a standstill.
The mollusks, some as small as two millimetres high, happen to occupy an area where cantonal transport officials want to built a 300-metre-long rail link to connect two existing stations.
A total of 12 different species inhabit the corridor, which runs close to the border of the city of Basel and the canton of Basel-Country.
The problem is that the snails, including the girdled (hygromia cinctella), amber (succinella oblonga) and pupilla muscorum varieties, are in danger of disappearing.
Red-listed by the federal department of the environment, they are a protected species, which is causing headaches for transport planners.
The new rail line would pass through a green space that has not been disturbed for decades.
Despite the small size of the project, “we must take into account a variety of interests,” Jane Hahn from the Basel planning department recently told the Basler Zeitung newspaper.
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