Work on a long-awaited bypass in Leicestershire has been held up because a protected species of newt has been found in the construction area.
Work started in September on the Earl Shilton bypass - planned for more than 20 years - and is set to cost £15m.
But a colony of great crested newts has been found and their protected status means it is illegal to disturb them.
When temperatures rise, the newts will come out of hibernation and move to a pond, allowing work to continue.
The county council's director of highways, Matthew Lugg, said he was hopeful the lost time could be made up.
Mr Lugg said: "It is very difficult to detect these species and no matter how much you do to detect these creatures, it's not necessarily going to be comprehensive.
"We are hopeful though that we can make up the time and get back on track. There have been some real horror stories in other parts of the country and our situation could have been much worse."
The bypass is due to open late in 2008.
The route is about 5km (three miles) long and follows the corridor that links the A47 perimeter road from a new roundabout at Carrs Hill to the A47 Leicester Road.