ASHTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Transportation Department is asking for public input as it works to rebuild the section of U.S. Highway 20 between Chester and Ashton. The original road was built in 1932. This part of the highway is known to be dangerous. One of the biggest issues is with cars crossing the highway. There have been 50 crashes in the past five years, three of those fatal.
“We have lost friends and relatives on this road because of the traffic issues," said Candy Miller, a Chester resident. Crossing a four-lane, it’s tough. They’ve been hurt, maimed or killed. And so, we understand for safety issues and their traffic numbers are up.”
While most of the reaction to the project is positive, there are some concerns.
“My concern is how we will get on and off because we live clear out at the end of the road, and we need access to get on and off," Miller said. "How they plan to do it. Whose property they plan to cross.”
ITD statistics show the average number of vehicles on that section of highway in 2017 was 6,100. In July, that number peaked 192 percent to 11,712. ITD projects that the average number of vehicles per year will grow to 9,870 in 2045. Right now, it is looking at options for a four-lane divided highway.
“We can do a four-lane divided with a median like what we see in St. Anthony, you know they got that wide area in-between," said Jeremie Pettingill, an ITD engineer. "Or we’re thinking about a four-lane divided like through Rigby where we have a concrete divider.”
The project will cost around $35 million. ITD hopes to begin construction in 2024.
“We’re going through the environmental assessment," Pettingill said. "We want to dot all the i's, cross all the t’s. Make sure that we’re doing what’s best for the most people.”
If you did not make it to the meeting tonight, but would like to give input, you can contact Andrea Gumm at email@example.com or at 208-870-8751. You can also leave comments on this website.