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Cash-strapped Germany building $285,200 frog tunnel

Frogs may get a tunnel to avoid being run over in the outskirts of Berlin.
Frogs may get a tunnel to avoid being run over on a road in the outskirts of Berlin.

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BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- Germany's cash-strapped government is paying 225,000 euros (U.S. $285,200) to build a tunnel to help frogs avoid the perils of a busy road, officials said Monday.

Ruediger Zech, a local council spokesman in the Berlin district of Reinickendorf, said the project would allow native varieties of toads, frogs and other amphibians to reach a nearby lake safely when they spawn in the spring.

Previously the creatures had been carried across the road in buckets by volunteers from nature protection groups.

The foreign ministry, headed by Green Party member Joschka Fischer, is funding construction of the tunnel near a training center for diplomats on the outskirts of Berlin.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman said the tunnel was part of a package of environmental measures agreed when the ministry took over the Villa Borsig, a country house located in a nature protection area in the north of Berlin.

Germany's government is expected to breach European Union budget deficit limits for a third year in a row in 2004.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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